New York's Jewish Museum is currently presenting Joan Snyder: A Painting Survey, 1969-2005 through October 23. The exhibition comprises over 30 of Snyder's major works in the most comprehensive museum survey of the artist's paintings to date. This mid-career review has been organized by the Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham, Massachusetts where it will be on view from November 10 through February 5.
The museum describes Snyder as a painter who embraces the formal qualities of abstraction while imbuing her work with narrative content that is often deeply personal and politically motivated. In her canvases she combines rich color with a wide range of materials and colors such as velvet, silk, papier-m ch , straw and plastic.
Snyder is an avowed feminist. The initial reception of her work in the 1970s was closely tied to the early feminist art movement. Her paintings also communicate her sensibilities in regard to loss, family, childbirth, the environment, spirituality and her Jewish heritage. She has never, however, come up with formal solutions that defined her as a major original among American painters.
Snyder first achieved recognition in the 1970s with her "stroke" paintings, simple abstract renderings in which horizontal gestures are applied to the canvas in grid-like notations with a paint-laden brush. These paintings appeared in the Whitney Museum's 1973 Biennial and the Corcoran Gallery's 1975 Biennial. Dozens of solo shows followed. Eventually, Snyder felt the need to move beyond these grid-based abstractions to create works that were at once more complex and personally resonant. She developed a visual language that allows her to incorporate a multitude of forms, symbols, and text in her paintings.
Born in Highland Park, New Jersey in 1940, Snyder was the middle child of Jewish parents who never lost a sense of their immigrant heritage. She now lives and works in Brooklyn and Woodstock, New York.
Joan Snyder, the first major book on this artist, by Hayden Herrera with an essay by Jenni Sorkin and an introduction by Norman L. Kleeblatt, is published by Harry S. Abrams, Inc. Illustrated with 140 images, the 180-page hardcover book is available for $50.00 nationwide.