First Friday Opening: Knauer Family Exhibit

First Friday Opening: Knauer Family Exhibit Date: Friday, August 5th - Friday, September 2nd, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Gallery Hours: Saturdays, 2 - 5pm, or by appointment.

The Irma Freeman Center for Imagination is proud to announce the opening art exhibit for the Knauer family. The Knauer’s show will be available for viewing from August 5 – September 2.

Artist Robert W. Knauer (1935-1981) was born in Erie PA, studied at the Philadelphia Academy of Art, and received his teaching degree from Indiana University. This exhibit begins with early drawings and paintings from Fort Sam Houston Texas where he was drafted into the army in late 1950’s. In an odd twist of army regulations, Robert was appointed Assistant Chaplain at the request of his Erie congressman and given an art studio in the Army chapel. Robert was a master draftsmen/portraitist, and it was here on the roof and attic studio, during cold war tensions and the beat generation, that he developed his naturalist/apocalyptic style. He drew cartoons, illustrated Army magazines, religious scenes, army buddies, their wives and girlfriends, and the local people of San Antonio. He married Ann Aichner in 1960 and had 4 kids. He taught Art throughout Western PA and supplemented his income with portrait commissions and gallery shows. During this time he perfected his personal style of large swirling clouds of anatomically correct nudes swimming in psychedelic seas of paint. His work was controversial and banned from some galleries. As times changed, his work was bought for many private collections and one of his major masterpieces now hangs in the Westmoreland County Art Museum. From 1968 to 1981 he taught at Fox Chapel High School and at the Ivy School on weekends and after hours. He helped launch the careers of many local artists.

Artists Evan Knauer (b.1963) and Brynn (Knauer) Gminder (b.1964) were his children and devoted students. Evan and Brynn graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1985 and 1986, respectively. Evan is a local artist who paints large colorful oil paintings informed by early 1980’s Neo-Expressionism. His main client is the MadMex/BigBurrito restaurant group and his paintings hang in Philadelphia, State College, Erie, Columbus OH, and the Pittsburgh restaurants on Highland Ave, Oakland, and Monroeville. Evan is also a musician in local rock band A.T.S., where his paintings are the cover art for their albums. Brynn (Knauer) Gminder has also exhibited in local galleries. Her 2-dimensional work is a collection of scenes often using found art, sand, mirrors, spray paint, and pop-art like images.

Music and videos will be provided on opening night Friday, August 5th and closing night Friday, September 2nd by The Knauer Brothers, which includes two other sons Jay Knauer (b.1961) and Buck Knauer (b.1968). Buck Knauer is a long time Pittsburgh scene musician and presently the guitarist for Love Letters. Jay Knauer was formerly the bassist in progressive rock band Theory. Also on the opening night Friday, August 5th will be Evan Knauer’s band A.T.S. On closing night Friday, September 2nd, along with The Knauer Brothers, will be musical guests Melissa Ippolito Knauer/Ed Tarzia/Chrissy Carnevali Trio and Slim Forsythe Big Band.