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Employing a form of dream logic, Rainen Knecht examines beauty, humor, and horror. Her femme figures are, as she describes, “situated between a warrior princess and sturdy milkmaid.” Clawed and distorted, they enact art historical motifs imbued with mischievous agency. In recent work, Knecht, a new mother, has studied the mother and child figure intertwined. The massive upheaval of becoming a mother, paired with the experience of witnessing her own mother’s death of cancer, is a centering gravity in Knecht’s paintings.
“Often the maternal figures are subjected to strange dreamy forms of pain and suffering, but the presence of tenderness and love is always lurking,” describes Stephanie Snyder, Director and Curator of the Cooley Gallery, Reed College.
“My newest work often retells art historical stories through a personal lens. Gorgons, harpies, witches and crones are all present but made personal, mostly through their interaction with children and their treatment in paint, taking cues from artists such as Fragonard and Chardin, as well as horror and camp films, such as Firestarter, while avoiding borrowing directly from them.”
Knecht studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2006. Her exhibition history includes solo and two-person exhibitions at Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, Oregon; SITUATIONS, New York, New York; and CAPITAL, San Francisco, California, as well as recent group exhibitions at Shulamit Nazarian and Various Small Fires in Los Angeles, California; Fisher Parrish, Brooklyn, New York; Stems Gallery, Brussels, Belgium; Ditch Projects, Springfield, Oregon; and PMOMA, Portland, Oregon. Knecht is represented by Fourteen30 Contemporary.
Geranium, group show at Stems, Brussels, Belguim