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 J. E. Knauf  (1948 - )

About: J. E. Knauf
 

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Lived/Active: Arizona/Colorado      Known for: figure, genre-Indian-cowboy

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Jim Knauf is primarily known as J. E. Knauf

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Ad Code: 4
Jim E Knauf
from Auction House Records.
I'll Count to Three
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
J. E. "Jim" Knauf (CO 1948-) left California in 1966 to attend art school at Northern Arizona University. While studying the technical aspects of drawing and painting he traveled the back roads of the Navajo, Hopi and Apache reservations observing the many characters he met along the way. He also explored Arizona's rural mining and ranching communities, constantly gathering personal impressions of the West and its inhabitant.

The innate power of western image still grips artist and viewer alikeNative American figure, cowboys, cowgirls, horses, rodeo riders, and the southwestern landscapes. Knauf has developed a very contemporary style is capture images of the "old West." Knauf's work explores the delicate play between form and abstraction. His dancing figures in full-feathered regalia whirl through the paint; his bronco riders burst through the picture plane from some mysterious other realm. There is action, and at times one feels absorbed into the piece, as if time has slowed for an instant and we are sharing the magic of an independent moment isolated from others.

In 1970 Knauf transferred to the University of California, Irvine where he studied under contemporary and Avant Garde artists Tony DeLap, Billy Al Benston, Bruce Nauman, Robert Irwin, Vija Clemens and Ed Moses. With this extensive academic training in nonobjective painting, he often finds himself fascinated when confronted with "faces that tell stories. A lot of times, I am just overwhelmed looking at people's faces." Knauf does not consider his work historically motivated. "I am interested in characteristics," he says, "in capturing the essence of that individual, and how that can interface with the viewer."

In 1994 Knauf began painting full time developing a technique that is solely his own. Knauf's technique and materials are unusual. Knauf begins with a live model, which he photographs in motion, seeking many different angles of light. He takes that image and then cuts hollow-core doors to size, then fills the edges, creating a wooden surface that is resilient and able to support multiple layers of paintanywhere between 15 to 50 layers. He covers the surface an aqueous ground, which resembles swirls of water-thinned colored pigments what usually remain visible in areas of the finished painting. Between layers of paint Knauf applies glazes that achieve a glassy, mirrored effect, making it appear as if the paint and image is suspended in the glazing. Knauf further manipulates the surface of each painting by scratching through the paint to blur the brushstroke so they don't appear so deliberate. "I am always wiping things outmaking the hazy or fuzzyin order to find a balance between the planned and unplanned. I work on the edge, balancing the objects based on where I want the viewer's eyes to go in the painting," explains the artist.

His work has garnered tremendous attention and praise. He has been featured as a cover artist for Southwest Art and has article in Phoenix Home and Garden, Cowboys & Indians Magazine, US ART as well as many other National and local publications.

Knauf's work is currently being featured in The Other Side of the West, which is touring museums throughout the country. This bold endeavor is a group show of 10 artists who are working in, of and about the West in a variety of styles.

About the paintings of J.E. Knauf, the Arizona Republic's art critic, Kyle Lawson, recently said, "the faces are inescapableLike John Singer Sargent, Knauf sees beyond the skin and sinew." The figures in the painting are "alive." The faces " represent Knauf's lifechart where he has been andprovide a glimpse of where he is headed."


Source: Kent Whipple, Art Professional

Biography from McLarry Fine Art:
Born in 1948, and raised in beach towns neighboring Los Angeles, J.E. Knauf left California in 1966 to study art at Northern Arizona University.  While becoming skilled at painting and drawing there, he often traveled the back roads of the Navajo, Hopi, and Apache reservations and explored Arizona’s rural mining and ranching communities in order to gather impressions of the West.

In 1970 Knauf transferred to the University of California, Irvine and studied under contemporary Avante Garde artists Tony DeLap, Billy Al Benston, Bruce Nauman, Robert Irwin, Vija Clemens and Ed Moses.

He earned his Bachelors Degree in painting and spent his post graduate year exploring the art and architecture of Mexico, Europe, and North Africa.  Before he committed to painting full-time, Knauf applied his artistic abilities in many professions including resterauntuer, product designer, and landscape architect.

His current work – paintings of Native Americans and Cowboys – combines original technique, powerful figures and illusive backdrops.  It is with a very contemporary style that he captures images of the “Old West.”

His unusual technique includes painting on hollow core doors after having cut them to size and finished their edges.  He covers this wooden surface in alternate layers of paints and glazes thereby creating a glassy finish. 

Of Knauf’s subjects, the Arizona Republic’s art critic, Kyle Lawson, recently said “…the faces are inescapable…like John Singer Sargent, Knauf sees beyond the skin and sinew.”

Knauf is a founding member of The Other Side of the West, a distinguished group of contemporary Southwestern artists currently exhibiting paintings at museums around the country.  He has been the cover artist for Southwest Art and U.S. Art Gallery and his work has been seen in numerous publications.  His work is represented in major private and corporate collections throughout the U.S.

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