April 30 - June 10, 2016
Parrasch Heijnen is pleased to present Womansong, an exhibition of new work by acclaimed New York artist Joan Snyder. Additionally, the gallery will have on view for the first time publicly Spring (1971), one of the largest examples from the artist’s breakthrough “Stroke Paintings” series.
Recognized for her uniquely physical and provocative works on canvas, Joan Snyder is acknowledged as one of the most consequential painters of her generation. Her paintings are often characterized by a visceral confluence of subtly arranged ground and abundantly physical overlay, inclusive of collage and assemblage elements immersed in their surfaces. While Snyder’s work is widely known for its responsive incorporation of political and feminist discourse as it intertwines with personal autobiographical experience, it defies art world jargon or movement categorization. Snyder consistently paints in an expressive style that is sensual, uninhibited, unabashedly honest, and fully engaged.
The seven paintings included in Womansong are both self-referential and exploratory. Snyder has focused on the sensuality of landscape and the eroticism of its relationship with the female figure. Analogous to orchestral music and the layering of sound, Snyder began painting these canvases by building numerous thinly veiled acrylic layers to attain a field upon which she applied chromatically definitive oil-based strokes. In the 2016 painting Womansong, from which the exhibition derives its title, the viewer discerns a subtle image of a female figure and heart within the painting’s nuanced field.
Snyder is looking at the anatomy of a painting and dissecting it. Beginning with establishing simultaneous planes of vision, she combines earthly materials such as dried sunflowers, berries, rosebuds, and mud to impart an effect that is raw and emotive yet pastoral. Drawing from her gestural “Stroke Paintings” of the 1970s that investigated the grid through her unique aesthetic vocabulary, Snyder here employs bursts of pure color that spark with melodic intensity. These works distill the formal analytic process of her earlier paintings into exuberant investigations of figures and landscape.
Joan Snyder (b. 1940) lives and works in Brooklyn and Woodstock, NY. Her 1975 painting Heart On is currently on view in the inaugural exhibition of the Met Breuer (New York), Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. In addition to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Snyder’s work resides in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Dallas Museum of Art. In 1994, the Rose Museum (Brandeis University, Waltham, MA) hosted a mid-career survey entitled Joan Snyder: Painter, 1969 to Now (catalogue published) which traveled to the Parrish Art Museum (Southampton, NY). In 2005, the Jewish Museum (New York) presented a survey of Snyder’s work from 1965-2005; a fully illustrated monograph published by Abrams with essays by Hayden Herrera and Jenni Sorkin accompanied the show.
Other current and upcoming exhibitions include Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age, Museum Brandhorst (Munich, Germany), November 14th, 2015 - April 30th, 2016, traveling to mumok (Vienna, Austria), June 2nd - September 25th, 2016, and Exhibition of Work by Newly Elected Members and Recipients of Honors and Awards, the American Academy of Arts and Letters (New York), May 19th - June 12th, 2016.
Snyder is the recipient of a 1974 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a 1983 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, a 2007 MacArthur Fellowship, and a 2016 Arts and Letters Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
On Sunday, May 1st at 1pm in the gallery, Joan Snyder will be in conversation with Jenni Sorkin, art historian, professor, and co-curator of the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel (Los Angeles) exhibition Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016. The hour-long discussion will address Snyder's show and the legacy of 1970s era art world feminism, a movement in which Snyder was keenly active. They will also discuss Snyder's artistic history, aesthetic vision, and life in paint. Sorkin is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History at University of California, Santa Barbara. She holds a PhD in the History of Art from Yale University. Sorkin has written numerous in-depth essays on feminist art and issues of gender.