A.I.R. Gallery is pleased to announce The Last Garden, an exhibition of new paintings by New York Member Joan Snitzer. Taking inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch’s 1510 triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights, Snitzer queries how small-scale moments might accumulate to create expansive worlds. This is Snitzer’s sixth solo exhibition at A.I.R.
Anchoring The Last Garden is an immersive, twelve-panel painting displayed across the gallery’s back wall. Like Bosch, Snitzer paints on wood panels. But, unlike Bosch, she creates entirely abstract forms. Drops of ink, vinyl emulsion, and pigment eddy across the work’s densely saturated surface and alchemize into scintillating scenes that resemble gardens, skies, and reflecting pools. Snitzer’s scenes are at once Edenic and admonitory. Some panels feel like they are budding outward into being, while others feel like they are wilting inward toward entropy.
Snitzer rebukes the heroic gestures of Abstract Expressionism in favor of smaller dexterous movements that pay homage to repetitions in women’s handicraft traditions. The resulting paintings often feel psychedelic, altering the ways we perceive. They also challenge our conventional methods for ordering knowledge. On one wall, smaller discrete canvases are stacked on top of one another, mimicking classical architectural forms like columns. Opposite them are slightly larger panels organized in a broken line. The seemingly random placement of the panels draws from modern music notation, Morse Code, and other communications systems, blurring distinctions between the deliberate and the extemporary, and between clamor and the not-yet-known.
Joan Snitzer’s studio work focuses on painting as a method of visual communication and democratization of social and personal beliefs. Her artwork is exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad and is represented in many public and private collections. Snitzer has been affiliated with A.I.R. Gallery, the oldest artist-run feminist collective in the United States, since 1974. Snitzer founded and directed the “Artist in the Marketplace” (A.I.M.) program which is now in its 42nd year at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. She is the Co-Chair of the Department of Art History and Director of the Visual Arts Program at Barnard College/Columbia University