“Tree in Pomerania” is an oil on linen canvas by Kevin Knopp. It will be part of an exhibit at the Alexander House in Port Edwards. The show “Beyond the Surface” premieres January 14.
Knopp paints beyond the surface
By Robert Cloud
Artist Kevin Knopp wants those who view his paintings to look beyond the surface to the emotional experience that inspired them.
“The surface of a painting or drawing conveys a visual perception of the space represented,” he said. “I strive to make the paint dissolve as much as possible in a recreation of a visual experience on the surface of the work. “
“Beyond the Surface” is the theme of Knopp’s upcoming exhibition at Alexander House in Port Edwards.
An opening reception for the show is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, January 14.
Knopp’s paintings and TC Farley’s sculpture from Neshkoro will be on display from January 14 to February 22.
Located at 1131 Wisconsin River Drive, the Alexander House is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
For the past 34 years, Knopp has lived and worked in Waupaca, living with his wife Mary Kay and animal companions.
His work shows the influence of Impressionism, both in terms of open-air painting techniques and softer, more pastel color choices.
Knopp points to the Evaline Kimball collection of French impressionist paintings in Chicago.
“The Chicago Art Institute was my first exhibition of Impressionist painting,” he said.
He then spent time in Paris and obtained his MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Art.
Knopp also encountered works of 20th-century Abstract Impressionism while he was an undergraduate art student at Viterbo University and while attending New York Studio School.
Knopp noted how important the surface of a painting is in the work of abstract impressionist Mark Rothko.
He has exhibited his oil paintings and drawings in art centers and galleries in Wisconsin and Chicago. He is currently represented in the Milwaukee area by the David Barnett Gallery.
Although influenced by the works he admires, Knopp said other influences include literature and classical music.
“I’m a 19th century guy,” he said.
His paintings are also influenced by the “strange and neglected in our ubiquitous everyday landscape” which he encounters while traveling “as a piano tuner and determined tourist”.
“Tree in Pomerania” is a painting inspired by one of Knopp’s journeys as a determined tourist.
Knopp’s grandmother, who immigrated to the United States in 1881 when she was 5, was born in Pomerania.
He went there on a personal pilgrimage to connect with his family’s past.
Another picture of Knopp’s journey to his ancestral origins is “The Port of Szczecin”, which depicts a large town on the Oder River in the Pomeranian region on the Polish-German border.
The local landscapes can be seen in “8 AM Faskel Road” and “Jackson Pass”.
“The image is a particular event and an emotional experience in time and space which, hopefully, is then transmitted to the viewer,” Knopp said. “His power for me is subjective; based on my chance wanderings around the world I am traveling in.
Knopp has taught art at all levels, most recently at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as an assistant professor of painting and art appreciation. He presented a visual lecture on the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection of French painting at the Winchester Academy in Waupaca.
He is also a founding member and drummer of the musical groups The Band Orphans and Snack Bar Flamingos and has tuned and maintained acoustic pianos for four decades.