Gallery Openings and Events

Cody Gallery at Marymount University Presents Jennie Lea Knight

Image: Jennie Lea Knight, Sonny’s Pasteur Evening, n.d., wood, 14″ x 87″. Courtesy of the Larson Collection.

Reception: Friday, January 17 from 6pm to 8pm

Cody Gallery at Marymount University is pleased to present an exhibition of work by Jennie Lea Knight (b. Washington, DC 1933; d. Washington, DC 2007). This exhibition will run from January 17 to March 7, 2020 and will open with a reception on Friday, January 17 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. This exhibition includes a minimalist grouping of sculpture.

Jennie Lea Knight co-founded The Studio Gallery, then located in Alexandria, VA, with her mother in 1956. By 1964, a year after the death of her mother, Knight joined the artists at the Jefferson Place Gallery, then under the direction of Nesta Dorrance, where she frequently exhibited in solo and group shows until the gallery’s closing in 1974.

Her work varied greatly—from painted still life to photography for the National Institute of Health. However, she is best remembered for her sculpture, which ranged from precious figurines of animals that she cared for to abstracted forms in mixed media and wood. It is with this later work where she gained the greatest acclaim, exhibiting at The Phillips Collection and the Corcoran Biennale, gaining the attention of esteemed curator Walter Hopps, for whom she assisted at the Venice in 1972.

The Cody Gallery will present a body of sculpture by Jennie Lea Knight that is best described as minimal in form, but not in process. At times stretching up to 9 feet in length, these wood sculptures show a mastery of precision in joinery and shaping coupled with a fastidiousness of craft.

Jennie Lea Knight was born in Washington, DC in 1933 and passed away in 2007. She received her art training in design and music at the King-Smith School of Creative Arts and later graduated from the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1951, where she studied painting with Kenneth Noland. By 1964, Knight worked almost entirely in sculpture, working occasionally on paper and canvas. Knight’s work can be found in many private collections and public institutions including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.

This exhibition is the third in the series “Women of Jefferson Place Gallery” and has been organized by Caitlin Berry, Director of Cody Gallery and John Anderson. Previous exhibitions in this series include “Hilda Shapiro Thorpe” and Mary Orwen”.  John Anderson is an independent curator and writer. His research into the archives of Alice Denney and Jefferson Place Gallery culminated in the exhibition, “Making a Scene: The Jefferson Place Gallery” at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in 2017. A catalogue accompanied the exhibition. In addition, he has written several catalogue essays including “Seen and Unseen: Public Artworks by Sam Gilliam and Rockne Krebs,” Washington Studio School, and “Phyllis Plattner,” The American University Museum. Anderson is a contributor to Washington City Paper and re:sculpt.

Cody Gallery is a contemporary art space created as a platform to support the arts and strengthen the arts community at Marymount University and the greater Washington DC area. Exhibitions present work by local, regional and international artists in order to provide groundbreaking and thought-provoking work for the community to experience. Events, including artist talks and lectures, are available for students at Marymount University and the general public at large. www.marymount.edu/codygallery

Gallery Hours:

  • Friday and Saturday: 12-5pm
  • and by appointment.

Cody Gallery of Marymount University is located at 1000 North Glebe Road, 2nd Floor, Arlington, VA. Street parking and Capital Bikeshare are available. The gallery is located near the Metroline Orange: Ballston-MU. Email cgallery@marymount.edu or phone (703) 908-7782 for further information.