For me, the process of painting is both a meditation on -- and thanksgiving for -- the natural beauty that surrounds us all. It is this quiet sense of awe that I wish to convey through my paintings. -- Judith KniffinOn view through September 25 in the Regional Artists Gallery at the Bennington Museum is On Hallowed Ground, works by Judy Kniffin. Kniffin has so entitled her exhibit because “this is what my paintings reflect back to me: We visit our brief lives upon this sacred ground, and, like good guests, would give it our due respect and grateful thanks.” Join the artist on Saturday, September 3 from 3:00 to 4:30 pm at her reception held at the museum.
Kniffin grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia during the post-war years of the 40s and 50s, when industry switched its focus to crank out all the conveniences of mechanized living inside homes, on neighborhood blocks, in Anytown, USA. “Bike rides to the countryside, catching tadpoles, and summer camp in surrounding farmland notwithstanding, I had very little sense of the earth under and around me. Cloud formations, weather patterns, rocks, soil, and the plant and animal growth they nurture were not part of my consciousness in the suburbs.” states the artist.
Painting with watercolors and oils, Kniffin explores these natural surroundings — the woodlands, mountains and waters, corners of her gardens, and streets in her towns. Her style is representational, while always teasing out the rich colors and patterns that a cursory glance at nature often overlooks. Kniffin explores the color relationships, shadows, reflections, textures and visual distortions of the objects. “Painting is my way to focus in on the quiet and sometime surprising beauty around us; to tune out the "noise" of modern technology and fast-paced lives.” she reflects. Recognizing that we are not in control of nature On Hallowed Ground nods to our fragile relationship with it.
Kniffin pursued studio painting at Skidmore College in New York, the Silvermine Guild Art Center in Connecticut, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Her works have been on view at NAACO Gallery, North Adams, MA; Bennington Arts Guild and Southern Vermont College, both in Bennington, VT; The Heart’s Eye Gallery, Athens, GA among others. She serves on the board of the North Bennington Plein Air Competition, North Bennington, VT. Visit her website at www.judykniffin.com
The Bennington Museum, located at 75 Main Street (Route 9), Bennington has the largest public collection of Grandma Moses paintings in the world as well as the largest collection of 19th century Bennington pottery. In the other seven galleries, the museum presents a 1924 Wasp Touring Car, one of only twenty produced, military artifacts, one of the earliest ‘stars and stripes’ in existence, fine and decorative arts, and more. On view through October 30 is “Grandma Moses and the ‘Primitive’ Tradition.” The museum is just a short ride from Manchester, Williamstown, and eastern New York, and open every day in September and October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students over 18. No admission is charged for younger students or to visit the museum shop and café. Visit the museum’s website www.benningtonmuseum.org or call 802-447-1571 for more information.
Images: On Hallowed Ground, 2010, 38” x 38”, oil on canvas Kniffin in her studio