Abstracted and generalized though [Knippers’ figures] are, the actors in Knippers’s mythic dramas are rendered in such a ‘barbarous,’ painterly style and titanic scale that their immediacy and presence are inescapable. His central figures are at once from this world and from no world, both visceral and abstract, both for now and forever. Through his painting Knippers creates a visual metaphor for his devout faith in Christ’s humanity as well as his divinity, a painterly corollary of the artist’s belief in the presentness of the Savior in the world.”
Howard N. Fox, LA County Museum of Art, from the catalogue for “Setting the Stage”.
The devout Christianity of Edward Knippers as reflected in his monumental paintings, sets him apart from many other contemporary artists. Rarely does a contemporary painter or sculptor turn to literal religious subjects for inspiration and still maintain a fresh, vibrant style. Knippers has created a careful balance between traditional Christian subject matter and the gestural, almost expressionistic….For the most part his figures exist in a timeless realm, neither Biblical nor modern. Knippers thrusts the figures into our imaginations, letting our own minds place the figures in the time strata of our choosing….His figures do not replicate those of specific artists of earlier periods, but they do evoke the same powerful sense of anatomy and gesture.
Frederick R. Brandt, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, catalogue for, “Spiritual Impact, The Paintings of Edward Knippers”.
Knippers uses the figure “…not to probe social or psychological realities, but to taunt us with soul-crushing questions of life and death….It is through the work’s brutality that its intensity of religious fervor avoids piousness and sentimentality.
Peter Clothier, L. A. Weekly, review of “Setting the Stage” at the LA County Museum of Art.
“Knippers’s painting style seems a compound of influences from many sources, including Francis Bacon and Max Beckmann, but there is no direct appropriation here; the painting is born of creedal conviction that is conveyed by a welter of passionate brush strokes, vicious marks and seductive surfaces.”
Ruth Weisberg, ARTWEEK, review of “Setting the Stage” at the LA County Museum of Art.
“If Christ was not gendered, then he was not human and the Incarnation would be a sham, as would the theology of salvation. Knippers has pressed this conviction of the Incarnation to the fullest, using the nude figure as a way of insisting upon the flesh of creation and Incarnation, as well as to argue for universality. And in doing so, he extends the radicality of the Incarnation—of God unclothed of pure divinity and dressed in flesh – by portraying Jesus as nude before a humanity that is naked.”
Wayne Roosa, from the catalogue, “The Next Generation, Contemporary Expressions of Faith”, an exhibition at the Museum of Biblical Art, New York City.
“…the muscular, melodramatic vigor of Edward Knippers’s 12-root-wide Baroque-style painting…is promising, too….the best [works in the exhibition] show that Christian faith and artistic ambition can still be a combustible mixture.”
Ken Johnson, The New York Times, review for “The Next Generation” at the Museum of Biblical Art.
“Mr. Knippers’art has a primal strength, no question….His work will not be ignored.”
Michael Welzenbach, The Washington Times, review of Memento Mori at the Arlington Art Center.
“One need not share Knippers’s religious beliefs to appreciate his art….The paintings are huge…colorful and done by someone who clearly knows how to handle a brush.”
Ferdinand Protzman, The Washington Post, review of “The Other Side of Christmas,” a one-man show at Touchstone Gallery.
“…it would be difficult to ignore the monumentality and the seriousness of the artist’s very personal achievement….Knippers is an anomaly, at least in his very un-contemporary devotion to a religious inspiration…[The paintings] are aggressive icons…creating…a cathedral-like experience….The greatest irony, however, is how familiar these paintings look in a completely modern context….Regular visitors to the Virginia Museum will likely see comparisons to the recent exhibition of Italian post-modernist Mimmo Paladino and a number of other shows…”
Robert Merritt, Richmond Times-Dispatch, review of “Spiritual Impact” in the Contemporary Galleries of the Virginia Museum.
“The size of Ed Knippers’ painting engulfs the viewer…but beyond the scale is the emotional torque of the painting, which, were the piece to be untitled, could still disquiet, arrest, and convert.”
Deborah McLeod, Curator, Hand Workshop Art Center, Richmond, VA,from “The Whereabouts of Beauty in Late Twentieth Century Art”.
“One is struck first by the intensely vibrant color in these gestural paintings, then by the tremendous energy in the delineation of their frequently writhing and contorted figures. The effect is somewhat akin to encountering Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling as filtered through Rubens at his most flamboyant by a committee of German Expressionists….There is something refreshing in all this because Knippers handily dismisses all those who say that religion…has lost its viability as an inspirer of art in the age of science.”
Roy Proctor, The Richmond News Leader, review of Spiritual Impact at the Virginia Museum of Art.
“Knippers appropriates a high Baroque painting style and packs it with drama and mythical subject matter. His work is of a piece with the Italian Trans-avant-gardists Chia, Cucchi, and Paladino. Like them Knippers is absolutely sincere. There is no trace of the world-weary irony that often marks the “postmodernism” of Salle or Fischl.”
Patrick Frank, New Art Examiner, review of Memento Mori at the Arlington Arts Center.
“It’s one of the most powerful exhibitions that Chattanooga has seen in the past decade….”Violence and Grace” is a must see show for anyone interested in the human figure.”
Ann Nichols, Chattanooga Times/Chattanooga Free Press, review of “Violence and Grace,” a one-man show at the Urban Art Institute.
“… The Departure (The Prodigal In A Far Country) is the most striking piece in the exhibition….Knippers’ elegant, expressive figures and objects are bathed in rich, shimmering light and juxtaposed with areas of wild, colorful motion. But you really have to see The Departure for yourself to appreciate its incredible power and pathos.”
Faith Heller, Winston-Salem Journal, review of “Neo Expressionism,” at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.
Knippers’…”large-scale paintings filled with muscular nudes powerfully assert the reality of God living on earth as man, along with the real emotions Jesus must have felt as his flesh shrank from the suffering he was about to endure.”
Shafer Parker, News Magazine, Alberta (Canada) Edition, review of “Anno Domini: Jesus through the Centuries,” a survey of 2000 years of Christ’s impact on culture at The Provincial Museum of Albert.
Knippers’ paintings “…come to us courtesy of Christianity and the classical ideal of Arcadia; of Rubens and Rouault with a dash of Francis Bacon and a trace of George Grosz. Which is not to say Knippers isn’t his own man; spend an hour with these theatrical oils…and you will be moved by Knippers’ astute vision, which is always grand (yes, even a touch grandiose) and an exaltation entirely his own…the viewer of “Memento Mori” will find sharing Knippers’ grand passion to be memorable.”
Mark Power, The Washington Post, review of “Memento Mori” at the Arlington Arts Center.
“Knippers has focused all of his energies on biblical subject matter, and has created large multi-panel cycles that invite comparison with their Renaissance and Baroque forebears. Originally linked to the overwrought attitude of New-Expressionism, Knippers’s work has slowly moderated in palette and form, though it is still full of brio. Knippers sees the figure as the locus of dramatic meaning…Even if one is inclined to think of beauty only formally, the tension between the painting’s means and its meanings creates a dissonance that sharpens the drama. It also suggests that beauty’s presence may illuminate moral and spiritual disorder by way of contrast.”
Theodore Prescott, American Arts Quarterly, from “Beauty’s Embrace, Recent Christian Contributions to the Discussion of Her Character.”
“Knippers’ expressionistically charged images are not pretty, not beautiful by the most conventional standards. But in their “ugliness” they gain an emotional depth and an import which registers as a more profound kind of beauty in the eye and mind and spirit of the beholder.”
John Montgomery Wilson, Hope College, Holland Michigan,from the catalogue for “Searching for the Spiritual,” an exhibition at the Depree Art Center and Gallery.
“Knippers acknowledges he has his critics as well as supporters within the religious community. He is not painting the pretty little baby in the manger part of the Bible.”
POP, review of exhibition, “On Passion of Grace, MAINSITE Contemporary Art, Norman, Oklahoma.