October 15th, 2020

Each week, Artful spotlights an art experience or destination that speaks to us right now.

In a season of almost unfathomable loss, Joan Snyder's paintings at Canada come across as bold and ultimately uplifting attempts to process it all. Her show, which closes this Saturday, October 17 and is accompanied by an online viewing room, includes raw and colorful abstractions that seem to work through various kinds of grief (some associated with climate change, others with the loss of specific individuals close to the artist). Dried herbs and rosebuds dot the canvas that gives the show its title, "The Summer Becomes a Room," joining smears of oil and acrylic, a handprint, and a swatch of burlap.

At the same time, the exhibition is a celebration: of a long and vital career in abstract painting, and of the mentoring relationships that help artists find their way. One of the gallery's founders, Wallace Whitney, worked for a time as Snyder's studio assistant and writes about what he learned from her in an essay for the show's catalog. The book also features fond and familial contributions from the painter Sean Scully and the curator Helen Molesworth, who says of Snyder's paintings: "They are a form of keeping time, of remaining present, of acting as both observer and recorder."

Joan Snyder, "The Summer Becomes a Room," 2018.
Oil, acrylic, herbs, rosebuds, burlap, cloth on canvas. 42 × 62 inches (106.68 × 157.48 cm). Courtesy the artist and Canada New York.Joan Snyder, "Paint A Pond," 2019. Oil, acrylic, burlap, paper on canvas 32 × 64 inches (81.28 × 162.56 cm). Courtesy the artist and Canada New York.Joan Snyder, "Field Marks," 2019. Oil, acrylic, burlap, paper, rose stems on canvas 30 × 96 inches (76.20 × 243.84 cm). Courtesy the artist and Canada New York.Joan Snyder, "Ode to Summer," 2019. Oil, acrylic, paper mache, burlap, poppy pods, dried flowers on canvas 60 × 120 inches (152.40 × 304.80 cm). Courtesy the artist and Canada New York.

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