Jennifer Knaus’ fantastical portraits feature Findhorn style flora atop Renaissance portraits of adults and children with arresting gazes. She paints in oil or egg tempera. Her work has been frequently exhibited in the New Britain Museum of American Art – founded in 1903 and designated the first museum of strictly American art in the country. Jennifer received her MFA from the University of California, Davis, and also studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and the San Francisco Art Institute, where she received her BFA. She lives in a beautiful, pastoral setting in Connecticut.
“My imagery comes from a desire to combine two unrelated genres from art history: Portraiture and still life. I am most inspired by Northern Renaissance portraits and Dutch 17th century still-lifes. The beautiful chaos of my back yard at the height of summer along with the local farmer’s market are my immediate resources. Arranging elements from nature onto the heads of myself, family and friends comes from a lifelong feeling of absurd self-consciousness. The constructing of arrangements is a metaphor for the projected self; a story of who we think the world sees us as. Issues involving nature and the environment such as genetic engineering, the secret life of plants, and recent discoveries into the microbiome, also have a way of working into my psyche. Such ideas are often just below the surface of interpretation and help add a humorously surreal atmosphere to my paintings.”