The Gallery at Convergence Presents Edward Knippers Violent Grace: A Retrospective

By East City Art Editorial Team on May 31, 2016

Fri, May 27 2016 — Sat, July 30 2016

Jonah and the Big Fish - oil on panel - 8' X 12' - 2000 by Edward Knippers. Courtesy of he Gallery at Convergence.
Jonah and the Big Fish – oil on panel – 8′ X 12′ – 2000 by Edward Knippers. Courtesy of the Gallery at Convergence.


Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Friday, June 3  from 6pm to 9pm


Closing Reception: July 22 from 6pm to 9pm

Violent Grace: A Retrospective is a survey of five decades of paintings by Edward Knippers. The exhibit is being held in the Gallery at Convergence as a celebration of the release of Knippers’ new monograph; Violent Grace: Paintings from 1968 – Present. In addition to the retrospective, this exhibit features recently completed pieces by the artist never before exhibited.

Violent Grace deals with the difficult problems of life and death, yet the viewer is not left in despair having encountered this art. As Gregory Wolfe states in the foreword to the newly released monograph, “…drawn into the wrestling match we come away wounded–and blessed–by a passionate, unreasonable, overwhelming beauty.

A controversial artist because of his use of the nude in a Biblical context, Knippers has been denounced as having made the Bible “into a nudist colony,” and has had exhibited paintings destroyed, and shows closed because of public outcry. “Yet these are not irreligious paintings.” (Monsignor Timothy Verdon, director, the Cathedral Foundation Museum, Florence)

Even in the face of these attacks, champions of his art have affirmed the importance of the paintings in statements such as: “A Victorian flight from the body was an error from which the Christian world has yet to recover. Pope John Paul II’s landmark Theology of the Body is a giant step towards that recovery. Edward Knippers’ paintings are a visual vehicle for it.” (David L. Hatton)

Having worked in the studios of S. W. Hayter and Zao Wou-ki, Knippers is well versed in the vocabulary of modernism, yet he is known to many as a neo-Baroque painter. This volume greatly expands such a narrow view and shows the artist to have used a wide range of tools to make clear his artistic objective, which is to grapple “with the perennial human questions embedded in the Bible…”

With roots in both German Expressionism and in 20th Century abstraction, as well as in the ancient vocabulary of the early icon, Knippers has accomplished a body of painting that is fresh in its power and grace. As John Walford (author of Jacob van Ruisdael and the Perception of Landscape, Yale University Press) has said, “…few will deny that the outcome of this large body of work, as seen within the context of twentieth and twenty-first century art, stands out as unprecedented in its nature, thematic import, artistry, power, visual impact, and overall significance.”

About the Artist
Edward Knippers received an MFA from the University of Tennessee; served as fellow at S. W. Hayter’s Atelier 17 in Paris; studied under Zao Wou-ki, painting and Otto Eglau, printmaking at the International Summer Academy of the Fine Arts in Salzburg, Austria; and figure study: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and the Grande Chaumiere, Paris. Knippers has held over 200 awards and exhibitions through out North America and Europe. He has been featured in numerous publications including: LIFE, Christianity Today, The Critic, The Washington Post, Image Magazine, The Washington Times, and, New American Paintings.

“The human body is at the center of my artistic imagination because the body is an essential element in the Christian doctrines of Creation, Incarnation, and Resurrection.

Disembodiment is not an option for the Christian. Christ places His Body and His Blood at the heart of our faith in Him. Our faith comes to naught if the Incarnation was not accomplished in actual time and space – if God did not send His Son to us in a real body with real blood.

Heresy results when we try to minimize the presence or preeminence of the body and the blood. Yet even believers have become comfortable with our age as it tries to disembody reality. Physicality is messy; it is demanding and always a challenge to control. In the name of progress, our communication is increasingly becoming a disembodied voice on the line or we listen to a virtual image on a screen. We move human interaction, even consciousness, from the real into a virtual realm. When we must deal with the physicality of the real world, it is increasingly uncomfortable.”

The exhibition is open to the public:

  • Fridays 10am to 5pm
  • Saturdays 10am to 4pm

The Gallery @ Convergence is located at 1801 N. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA. For more information visit