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This profile was last updated on 6/13/07  and contains information from public web pages.

Edward Knippers

Wrong Edward Knippers?
 
Background

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Founder and Board Member
    Christians
7 Total References
Web References
Edward Knippers | Artist of ...
www.imagejournal.org, 13 June 2007 [cached]
Edward Knippers | Artist of the Month
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Edward Knippers
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Edward Knippers is, without a doubt, one of the founding fathers of contemporary efforts to explore the relationship between Christian faith and the creation of outstanding new visual art.He has given generously of his time as speaker and panelist at innumerable conferences and arts festivals.He's taught at Image's Glen Workshop.He's also been a leading light in Christians in the Visual Arts, and many other projects and causes.He's an avid collector who is now beginning to share the gift of his discerning eye with thousands of others by making a traveling exhibition out of his treasures.But above all he is a painter,a painter whose vision, at once deeply traditional and radically contemporary, has been central to the revival of biblical narrative in the visual arts.His paintings are dramatic tableaux, Baroque in their expressive intensity and theatrical settings; they do what many art historians have said could never be done again: make the classic biblical subjects come alive in paint.Knippers's vision is profoundly incarnational, restoring the human body to its central place as the locus of the divine/human encounter.His work has occasioned controversy,it's been banned and even mutilated.We find this ironic, because no one is more orthodox in his theology than Ed Knippers.But even in the midst of controversy, he remains gracious and ready for dialogue.We're proud of his long association with Image.
Knippers was featured in Image #3.To read Ted Prescott's brilliant essay on Knippers from that issue, click here.
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Edward Knippers' Current Projects
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Edward Knippers is a nationally exhibited artist known as a figurative painter of biblical subjects.He has had over 100 one-man and invitational exhibitions including a four-person show at the Los Angeles County Museum, and one-man shows at the Virginia Museum, Richmond, the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and the University of Oklahoma, Norman.Knippers's work has been published widely, including by Life magazine and Christianity Today, and is found in numerous public and private collections including The Vatican Museum, Rome, Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, the University of Oklahoma, Norman, and the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton, IL.
Migliazzo Teaching Book
www.whitworth.edu, 21 Nov 2002 [cached]
Other contributors include Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, professor of psychology at Eastern University; Shirley Mullen, professor of history at Westmont College; and Edward Knippers, an artist who has taught at institutions including the University of Tennessee and Asbury College.
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Knippers is also a founder and board member of Christians in Visual Arts.
Image: Art, Faith, Mystery
www.imagejournal.org, 17 Nov 2006 [cached]
Edward Knippers: A Profile
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Edward Knippers
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I met Ed Knippers's work before I met Ed Knippers.
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I had seen another work of Knippers, too, where the paint surface crawled from the canvas onto the frame as if motivated by an obsessive need to animate everything.
Because of these encounters, and the fact that I knew that Knippers was a Southerner with strong Christian convictions, it was easy to develop expectations about the artist.The expectations,fueled by art mythology,were that Knippers would be something of a cross between one of Flannery O'Connor's preachers and the painter Nick Nolte played in New York Stories.
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Courteous, articulate, coated, tied, and blow-dried, Knippers resembled a professor at a small Kentucky college,which in fact he was.There were no visible twists of personality to account for the high-voltage quality of his paintings.In fact, Knippers looked like a mild-mannered evangelical whose taste in art would run toward pleasantness.How then to understand the relationship of the artist to the art?
Ed Knippers's life unfolded between two immutable conditions.He is Southern and he is Christian.Ed was raised in Lakeland, Florida, where his father taught business math and administration at Florida Southern College.Both parents were devout members of the Church of the Nazarene, a Protestant denomination in the holiness tradition.
There is no dearth of literature about the problems of being Southern, being Christian, and being an artist.Both Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy, two writers that Ed has read carefully, addressed the subject several times.
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Knippers has followed suit, although he is quick to point out that he doesn't approach art intellectually.
Initially, the experience of being Southern and being Christian did not lead to strategy, but to a sense of distance.The Protestant holiness tradition emphasizes a purity of lifestyle that takes a "don't look, don't touch, don't do" approach to the pleasures and temptations of culture.So while Ed took painting lessons, he didn't go to movies or dances.When Ed's cousin from Philadelphia visited in the summers, she brought along the sense of superiority and condescension that the North has regularly visited on the South since Reconstruction.This was also the period of the growing struggle over civil rights, which in its early stages was thought to be a Southern problem.During Ed's youth, a white Southerner was seen as part of a problem whose solution would be imported from somewhere else.
Distance can be experienced as either crippling isolation or liberation from collective practices.For Ed, growing up Southern and Christian did not so much lead to a sense of being outside of the acknowledged centers of real artistic and social vitality as it gave him room to find his own direction as an artist.One of the dilemmas of modernism is that the developing artist must confront a noisome and contradictory multitude of ideas, subjects, schools, methods, techniques, and allegiances.This is the downside of the much-vaunted artistic freedom found in modernity.The effect on many aspiring artists is uncertainty, or a long incoherent stammer as the artist tries to find an authentic voice.
The distance that Knippers felt was coupled with his approach to art, which is much more intuitive and emotional than it is calculated and premeditated.The result was an artistic growth marked by an organic quality that is absent from the work of many of his peers.By the time he left Asbury College, he already knew that Christianity was his subject.He also knew that he was a painter whose interests were fairly conventional given the art world's penchant for innovation.In graduate school, all of the critical debates about the merits of minimalism, pop, or conceptualism were of only peripheral interest to him.There is no body of minimalist Knippers in a closet somewhere.So today, when people say to him as they sometimes do,
But that's not what people are doing in New York," with all of its implied cultural authority, Ed seriously asks, "So what?"
While he knew the direction he wanted his work to go in, he was not at all certain about the best way to flesh out a Christian vision.There were several problems to overcome before Knippers could begin to approach the large Biblical narratives that are his hallmark, and that indicate the start of his mature work.While Ed had been a precocious painter as an undergraduate, it was a mixed blessing.The faculty at Asbury College tended to leave him alone, which he liked.But no one insisted on a solid foundation in drawing.Of course he would not have been able to draw from an unclothed model anyway, given the conservative Protestant conviction that such an activity is at least immodest, if not an outright invitation to lust and sin.
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Ed began to teach after graduate school, but was frustrated because he knew he still had so much to learn, and now had less time to do it in.He knew more than the students, but said "I felt like we were all in the same boat together."
Another problem faced by young artists is where to look for examples and inspiration.While modernist mythology has promoted the ideal of the artist creating in Promethean freedom without regard for roots, history, and tradition, the reality lies elsewhere.Knippers wasn't drawn to the artists being discussed in the 1960s and 1970s.In fact, most of the art since World War II didn't quicken his pulse, though he admires DeKooning as "a fine painter."
Later on Ed realized that the art of the post-war period was propelled by ideas that he was at odds with.Some movements, like abstract expressionism, were predicated on a cult of personality, while others, like minimalism or color-field painting, were largely dedicated to the manipulation of art's formal properties.The former tended to degenerate into celebrity, while the latter, despite the most elaborate critical panegyrics, never rose much above the level of inflated decoration.So Ed looked further, to the early part of the twentieth century.
"I was drawn to the German Expressionists because they believed art could have some transforming influence on society," he relates.At first he didn't like the individual artists that much, but found their boldness and simplicity attractive, as well as the emotional and confrontational quality of their work.Also, the German Expressionists were quite willing to use religious and Christian imagery.For this reason, Knippers also admired that misplaced expressionist, Georges Rouault, who never took pains to mask his Christian beliefs.
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There was one place Ed never looked, though,the Baroque period.
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About half way through his graduate study, Ed was feeling this problem acutely.He was trying to make figurative paintings, but things weren't working, and his teachers were telling him he was trying too hard.He had recently married, and his wife Diane asked him, "What is it that you'd really enjoy painting?"The question made him realize that what he really wanted to do was paint still lives.
Ed used to spend a lot of time with an aunt combing the countryside for antiques, and he found the clutter of old implements, dishware, furniture, and the bric-a-brac of country stores visually arresting.He was also struck by how each object had a history, and that the character of the object in some mysterious way represented the previous owner.
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Ed liked the painting and decided to enter it in a juried show at the Tennessee Fine Arts Center at Cheekwood in Nashville. the show was open to all artists in Tennessee, and many of Ed's professors also entered it.
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This didn't deter Ed, who felt more than a little vindicated in his independence when the juror picked him to have a one-man exhibition at the Center the following year.Ed spent the next year preparing for the show.He was also in his first year of teaching at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.
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Ed was using things, both concrete objects and formal elements like the white areas, in loosely symbolic ways.Ed's intentions were clear enough to people who knew him well, or understood something about the artistic lineage he was absorbing.But the content of the work didn't have the clarity, impact, and conviction that he was after.Like much of the visual art made in the twentieth century, his paintings were locked within a framework of personal meaning.
It was at this point that Ed began to understand that the Incarnation had implications for art.White areas deployed in a painting might be spiritually evocative, or suggest an ethereal presence of God.But they didn't really say very much about who God is, or what his presence with us means.Ed wanted something that spoke in more concrete and provocative terms,just a
Image: A Journal of the Arts & Religion
www.imagejournal.org, 1 Jan 2001 [cached]
Edward Knippers
...
Edward Knippers is, without a doubt, one of the founding fathers of contemporary efforts to explore the relationship between Christian faith and the creation of outstanding new visual art.He has given generously of his time as speaker and panelist at innumerable conferences and arts festivals.He's taught at Image's Glen Workshop.He's also been a leading light in Christians in the Visual Arts, and many other projects and causes.He's an avid collector who is now beginning to share the gift of his discerning eye with thousands of others by making a traveling exhibition out of his treasures.But above all he is a painter--a painter whose vision, at once deeply traditional and radically contemporary, has been central to the revival of biblical narrative in the visual arts.His paintings are dramatic tableaux, Baroque in their expressive intensity and theatrical settings; they do what many art historians have said could never be done again: make the classic biblical subjects come alive in paint.Knippers's vision is profoundly incarnational, restoring the human body to its central place as the locus of the divine/human encounter.His work has occasioned controversy--it's been banned and even mutilated.We find this ironic, because no one is more orthodox in his theology than Ed Knippers.But even in the midst of controversy, he remains gracious and ready for dialogue.We're proud of his long association with Image.
Knippers was featured in Image #3.To read Ted Prescott's brilliant essay on Knippers from that issue, click here.
...
Edward Knippers is a nationally exhibited artist known as a figurative painter of biblical subjects.He has had over 100 one-man and invitational exhibitions including a four-person show at the Los Angeles County Museum, and one-man shows at the Virginia Museum, Richmond, the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and the University of Oklahoma, Norman.Knippers's work has been published widely, including by Life magazine and Christianity Today, and is found in numerous public and private collections including The Vatican Museum, Rome, Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, the University of Oklahoma, Norman, and the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton, IL.
Cornerstone Festival 2003 :: Speaker Bio
www.cornerstonefestival.com, 9 June 2003 [cached]
Ed KnippersCornerstone Festival 2003 :: Speaker Bio
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Ed Knippers
Ed Knippers has shown his art extensively and has received 150 awards for his work.He has taught many art disciplines in numerous colleges and currently serves on the board of directors of Christians in the Visual Arts.
<< 2003 Seminars
SEMINAR SCHEDULEEd Knippers: Spiritual Lessons I've Learned in the Studio, Art Annex (Tent ), Thursday, 7/03/03, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
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Ed Knippers: Spiritual Lessons I've Learned in the Studio, Art Annex (Tent ), Friday, 7/04/03, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
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Ed Knippers: Spiritual Lessons I've Learned in the Studio, Art Annex (Tent ), Friday, 7/04/03, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
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Ed Knippers: Spiritual Lessons I've Learned in the Studio, Art Annex (Tent ), Saturday, 7/05/03, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
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