Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sometimes the right things happen to the right people

Joan Snyder has always gone against the grain, refusing to modify her expression to suit anyone but herself. Therefore she has given us some of the most emotionally direct paintings ever, some of the darkest as well as some of the most exuberant, some of the ugliest and some of the most lyrically beautiful. She scrawled words into the thick paint of her canvases long before text in paintings was in vogue, and has unabashedly expressed a decidedly feminine perspective in all of its anger, grief, joy and wrenching vulnerability. I was shown her work by an instructor at the beginning of my life as a painter and it has acted as a constant reminder that personal authenticity in art is everything. We met about twenty years later when Betty Cuningham was considering me for a show at Hirschl & Adler and brought Joan to my studio. Since then I’ve written about her work for Art in America, and later wrote a catalog essay. She’s one of the most sure, energetic, intelligent and dedicated of artists, always searching and changing, and with each exhibition pushes the envelope even further. Joan says it all, does it all, and deserves to be recognized by the MacArthur Foundation for her courage.

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