Monologue, by Pat Snow Austin Chronicle article By Greenwood
Pat Snow: Monologue
The exhibition weaves anecdotes into a story of the artist's life and also his creative range
Reviewed by Caitlin Greenwood, Fri., May 2, 2014
Monologue, by Pat Snow
Big Medium Gallery at Bolm, 5305 Bolm #12
Through May 3
Everyone has a story to tell, but Pat Snow arguably just has better stories. It's partly his excitement in the retelling: His tone denotes an inflection of "And then!" as he launches into the next tale. Many of his stories offer an unruly yet wholly endearing perspective on his hometown of Birmingham, Ala., and in large part this nostalgia directs the exhibition "Monologue."
Big Medium's gallery has been decorated with mementos of Snow's past. Illustrative watercolor vignettes – quotes and quips spanning decades of Snow's notebooks, which provided the source material – cover an entire wall. The vague statements, such as "Just livin' the dream" and "Oh! Sweet nuthin'," are meant to be stand-alone sentiments. Taken all together, though, they weave a narrative of personal highs and lows, uncertainty, and drive, told to its audience in soft wisps of gray and black on white paper.
The interior gallery houses Snow's larger works (rough, black and white pieces painted directly on the walls) and some sculptural pieces. One painting tells of Snow being confronted about his faith at a drugstore while the portrait of a googly-eyed Jesus overlooks the hand-painted text. In another corner, a sizable stack of letters is housed in a wooden box. On further inspection, it's clear that this is an extensive collection of rejection letters. They speak of grants never awarded, exhibitions passed over, positions not granted. "Yeah, I've had quite a few people tell me to get rid of those," Snow says. "They ask, 'When will you let that baggage go?' They don't understand how it's funny," ending with a laugh before launching into a notable tale about how the circle of rejection was much more exciting before the Internet.
"Monologue" weaves a tale of not only the artist's life but also his creative range. From prints to paints, sculpture to installations, Snow seems comfortable switching between mediums almost on a whim – whatever strikes his fancy that day. Which launches Snow into an entirely different tale about how he procured much of the watercolor canvas for this particular exhibition. And we're off again, ever deeper into the "Monologue."
Top 10 of Austin's Visual Art in 2013
Here is a year end list for 2013 from the Austin Chronicle where I was lucky enough to be included in Top 10 of Austin's Visual Art in 2013
Much of the year's most exceptional contemporary art drew inspiration from the past and from science
By Caitlin Greenwood, Fri., Jan. 3, 2014
Top 10 of Austin's Visual Art in 2013
1) 'STEPPING INTO WATER' (Red Space Gallery) Jessica Mathews
2) 'NOT HOW IT HAPPENED' (Tiny Park Gallery) Joel Ross and Jason Creps
3) 'LIFELIKE' (Blanton Museum of Art)
4) 'MARIANNE VITALE' (The Contemporary Austin)
5) 'THE STORIES OUR NEURONS TELL' (Co-Lab Projects) Brooke Gassiot
6) 'FIELD COLLISION' (Flex Space) Andrew McCloskey, Rebecca Marino, David Culpepper
7) 'SOMETHING LOST' (Co-Lab Projects) Various artists, curated by Phil LaDeau
8) 'WINTERSNOW SNOWINTERS' (grayDUCK Gallery) Pat Snow and Matthew John Winters
9) 'CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHIC PRACTICE AND THE ARCHIVE' (Harry Ransom Center)
10) 'YLA 18: CON JUNTOS' (Mexic-Arte Museum) Various artists, curated by Michael Anthony García
Text of New American Painting Review 2013
Self Conscious: Pat Snow & Matthew John Winters at grayDUCK Gallery by New American Paintings
July 16, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: Brian Fee, grayDuck Gallery, Pat Snow
It seems almost fated that Texas transplants Pat Snow and Matthew John Winters would exhibit together. The mellifluous title to their grayDUCK Gallery duet Wintersnow Snowinters echoes the innate, mantra-like concentration evident in their respective works, combining images and memories to sublime conclusions. ¡ª Brian Fee, Austin contributor
Pat Snow | Wake, 2013, Oil on panel, 18¡± x 24¡±. Image courtesy grayDUCK Gallery, Austin.
Upon meeting Snow at the three-artist exhibition True Story at grayDUCK last year, I was stone-cold smitten with his graphite portrait Record Shop Girl and the liquidic color bouquets blooming across watercolor Sleeping vs Waking. There was something uncanny about these figures ¡ª Facebook ¡°selfies¡± of Snow¡¯s friends ¡ª something nostalgic, like girls I¡¯d met in university or at some party in New York. His usage of text (either unsteady print or carefully meandering cursive, culled from snippets of conversation or song lyrics) redoubled this deep familiarity. Like: I know them from somewhere, or, I want to know them. Wintersnow Snowinters signals Snow¡¯s first painting show in some two decades, so several earlier watercolor works (like Sleeping vs Waking) reappear here as fully-formed oil on panel compositions. The 2013 Wake features Snow¡¯s hometown friend Heather (now an Austin-based chef) with clouds of grey across her face, like sleep¡¯s last remnants, instead of the tropical shadows from last year¡¯s watercolor. The same script ¡ª ¡°it wasn¡¯t so much the sleeping as much as the waking up¡± ¡ª snakes across her partially concealed arm like a tattoo, but the subdued palette radiates hazy consciousness, flickers of violet in her hair, a single streak of watery red extended beneath her lips.
Pat Snow | Sleeping, 2013, Oil on panel, 18¡± x 24¡±. Image courtesy grayDUCK Gallery, Austin.
Pat Snow | Wintersnow Snowwinters installation. Image courtesy grayDUCK Gallery, Austin.
Snow explained that he works to keep his colors ¡°pure¡±, using CMYK process colors in warm-up compositions, and then only three to four colors in his oils. Black becomes sharp outlines, like screen-printing but hand-brushed here, strengthened by a flatness forged by finishing each with Krylon Kamar varnish. To me, his color choices appear much bolder: like the rouge slash across Sleeping¡®s cheek and the goldenrod collar of her jersey shirt, and the warm blue highlighting Bubblegum¡®s hair, echoed in her piercing eyes. If the ¡°selfie¡± captures one¡¯s likeness in time, I proffer that Snow¡¯s reductive palette and contrasty outlines activate those moments, and by working from watercolor to oil he makes their reality that much more present.
Pat Snow | Bubblegum, 2013, Oil on panel, 24¡± x 18¡±. Image courtesy grayDUCK Gallery, Austin.
Matthew John Winters | The God Head, 2013, Ink on paper, 35¡± x 35¡±. Image courtesy grayDUCK Gallery, Austin.
Winters¡¯ contributions come in two broad flavors: ink on paper and paint on reclaimed wood. He emphasized that his images ¡°have all undergone a change in state. These things go through a strange magic as they are cast aside or incorporated into an artwork.¡± Consider The God Head, a pink- and black-ink cloud of addiction and temptation clawing at one another, floating in the outlined vestige of a child wearing a Rubbermaid bin like a helmet ¡ª or a shield from some very grownup troubles. The original compositional photograph is not exactly forthcoming (unlike its kin Moosebeetle ¡ª a hulking, hyperbolized insect with antlers) but The God Head¡®s imagery isn¡¯t so hard to decipher. Winters¡¯ ink drawings exude an unbelievable intensity, as he ¡°draws¡± literally from his subconscious in constructing them, though the narrative within The God Head suggests some deeply considered self-reflection beyond its automatic roots.
Matthew John Winters | Transfer of Energy, 2013, Ink on paper, 21¡± x 21¡±. Image courtesy grayDUCK Gallery, Austin.
Matthew John Winters | Wintersnow Snowinters installation. Image courtesy grayDUCK Gallery, Austin.
The massive horizontal Pink Mountaintops derives from Yann Arthus-Bertrand¡¯s Earth from Above, a favorite picture-book of Winters¡¯ grandfather. Uneven striations of wood recycled from the Blanton Museum (Winters¡¯ day-job) echo the craggy ridges, while the mountains themselves coat the composition like an outsized decal, hugging every tectonic peak. The use of gradient is intriguing: silvery speckles deliquesce into black shadow and rosy sunlight into whitish snow, like a Polaroid in Winters¡¯ mind, sharpening from a youth¡¯s overactive imagination to sobering reality.
Matthew John Winters | Pink Mountaintops, 2013, Acrylic and spray paint on reclaimed wood, 10¡ä x 5¡ä. Image courtesy grayDUCK Gallery, Austin.
Two artist ¡°selfies¡± ¡ª Snow depicted in ink by Winters, Winters in crayon crosshatchings by Snow ¡ª were used in exhibition promotional materials and anchor the show. Both images are very much them: Snow¡¯s unruly hair and quizzical expression, Winters¡¯ stoic-yet-Socratic gaze, like each bears a simple Photoshop filter manipulation. Each is a translation of the original, but in the artists¡¯ hands they feel more authentic than a self-shot photograph. Snow gets this in translating his friends through watercolor to oil, depicting them more closely to how the world sees them, more than just a mirror of themselves. Winters turns that mirror back on himself, but by eschewing a traditional self-portrait for intuitive ink vignettes he creates a portal for us to see him a bit more clearly.
Pat Snow and Matthew John Winters | Wintersnow Snowinters, 2013, ink on paper and crayon on paper. Images courtesy grayDUCK Gallery, Austin.
Pat Snow was awarded the Individual Artist Fellowship/Grant Award by the Alabama State Council on the Arts in 2010 and 2011 and has participated in many solo, two-artist, and group exhibitions in Birmingham, Alabama and Austin, Texas. Recent exhibitions include Interchange Alabama/Texas, an artist exchange program between Space One Eleven (Birmingham) and Project Row Houses (Houston), supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andy Warhol Foundation. Snow lives and works in Austin.
Matthew John Winters has participated in numerous group exhibitions around his degree program at DePaul University (Chicago) and in Austin, Texas, including Ink Tank Collective¡¯s Armageddon Outta Here at Co-Lab Project Space and Art on the Green at AMOA-Arthouse, both in 2012. He is currently featured in the youth-artist/mentor partnership exhibition Advanced Young Artists at AMOA-Arthouse, through September 1. Winters lives and works in Austin. Wintersnow Snowinters continues through July 21.
Brian Fee is an art punk based currently in Austin, TX, but he can usually be found back in New York or deep in Tokyo, depending on the art season
Glasstire review of show at grayDuck Gallery
Quick review in the Austin Chronicle
Three very different takes on portraiture provide three reasons to see this exhibit
By Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., Jan. 20, 2012
I roll over into the dark and I am gone by Pat Snow
grayDUCK Gallery, 608-C W. Monroe, 826-5334
Through Feb. 19
There's a show of artwork by three different people at grayDUCK Gallery, and it's a show that will happily improve your day if you see it. There are three reasons why, and those reasons' names are Paul Beck, Allen Brewer, and Pat Snow.
Paul Beck offers an array of deft and snarky portraits, images that might be created by a minimalist political cartoonist working in house paint and varnish, as well as a series of paintings that make you smile and think, "Of course this guy did animated music videos for Radiohead and David Byrne – yeah, that makes perfect sense."
Pat Snow, who studied with the Rev. Howard Finster, also brings his portraiture to the grayDUCk walls, along with narrative pieces reminiscent of what Raymond Pettibon might have conjured in a year in which he'd resolved to use more bright colors than even the Pantone Matching System could bear. The far gallery wall holding 99 watercolor portraits of Snow's friends arranged in a perfect grid is stunning; individually and as a group, these faces are faces you'd want to be at a party with right before you die.
Allen Brewer is working a technique where he draws or paints portraits while not looking at the surface he's painting or drawing on. If the man had no talent or skill to begin with, that would probably look like shit – even if somewhat interesting shit. But with Brewer's stupefying level of draftsmanship, the result is gorgeous and unsettling, generating the sort of subject-intensifying effects that the rest of us would have to invent complicated software to try to do on purpose.
This exhibition is called "True Story," and what else is true is that there are actually four reasons you should see this show. The fourth reason is Jill Schroeder, the gallery's owner and curator, who again proves that she knows how to fill a gallery with worthwhile, intriguing yet accessible art.
Show review by Austin Lifestyle Magazine
grayDUCK Gallery held an opening reception for “True Story” last Friday night. Wine and beer in hand, urbanites viewed the exhibit, aptly named for its insight into, as the gallery regards it, “the purity of perception.” Featuring artists Paul Beck, Allen Brewer, and Pat Snow, the contemporary art space transported guests into a very “East Village” scene with its stained concrete floors, aluminum ducts crossing overhead, and spotlighted, whitewashed walls.
Referencing artwork as the power he gives himself as a human being, Paul Beck’s portion of the exhibit stands out with its monochromatic tendency. The mixed media collection features symbols and icons, seemingly stamped amongst more ambiguous, unrecognizable people, shapes and objects. Having worked in the past as an animator with director Richard Linklater, and a writer/director for videos for the likes of Radiohead and the Black Eyed Peas, this local artist is no novice to a multi-media milieu. His use of negative space and absence, whether of color, explanation, or visual balance, all aid the conceptual coherency of his exhibited paper productions.
Allen Brewer speaks of the tactic of “blindness” that he has been employing in his art as of late, though it is almost more of a truth-seeking, unconscious technique rather than a deliberate maneuvering. He has been drawing through transcription of a picture’s details with carbon onto a substrate; from there he continues to draw and to paint without looking at his work. The “blindness” of the task allows his focus to be on the intricacies of his subject matter. He says, “By eliminating my own perception of the thing, I am getting closer to its truth.” The resulting canvases are unbelievable, in the most literal sense of the word. Ranging from literal pictorial representations to more abstract renditions of public figures or other subjects, the breadth of this project is impressive, new, and beautifully abstract.
Pat Snow uses paint and pen to depict stories in his exhibition. The recent Austinite uses conversational stanzas as transcribed supplements to drawings or paintings. One example is his entire-wall-sized collection of individual canvases of faces, sporadically intermitted by square messages such as “Stay No Go” or “Alright Alright” or “Umm Yep!” or any other seemingly insubstantial colloquialism… until the messages are witnessed as part of the collective statement on social cliché. As his artist statement describes, he is “continuously rearranging the visuals and stories he encounters to critique and explore narrative.” His work is an encounter with the personality and voice of the artist himself, a unique insight that utilizes visuals for masterful storytelling.
The aesthetic of the gallery is effective, hosting a collective of paintings and mixed media that display well together. Stylistically, the artworks both challenge and reinforce one another. For more information on grayDUCK’s past, current, and upcoming exhibitions, visit the gallery in person on Monroe Street — the space is illuminated by two strings of simple bulb lighting and is recognizable by its modern signage and modest domicile within a small parking lot set back from South 1st Street; or visit its online residence at http://www.grayduckgallery.com/.
by: Emily Rae Pallerin - 2012-01-17
Nine Questions with Pat Snow April 9, 2011 by wayne
Nine Questions with artist & RSM Pat Snow
April 9, 2011 by wayne 0 Comments
Pat hard at work.
As a writer, filmmaker and sometime photographer, I know a thing or two about words and images. I understand line and movement, rhythm, rhyme and meter. I have a pretty good handle on how to bring images to life and pair them with words to evoke a desired reaction in the viewer. I am a rank amateur compared to RSM contributor Pat Snow.
You see, I have the benefit of the moving image, of directing a viewer’s attention through camera movement and editing over the course of time. Pat somehow manages to do what I do and more in static works of art. To use the word “static” is a misnomer, though, and an insult to his work. Pat’s work is anything but lifeless. I’m no art historian, but what I see in Pat’s work is a little bit pop, a little bit folk and a heaping spoonful of the Southern storytelling tradition.
I recently caught up with Pat for the inaugural edition of our interview series, Nine Questions.
Wayne Franklin: 1. What does it mean to be an artist as a Southerner?
Pat Snow: I have been identified as a Southern artist in shows and articles. I try not to identify the work as purely Southern – that would be too limiting. I do see some themes and subject matter that keeps popping up that can be associated with being from the South.
WF: 2. What Southern traditions have you embraced in your work?
PS: The use of humor, place, narrative and stereotypes/archetypes. I use those tropes because they are familiar to me, and I can use them to communicate my ideas easily.
WF: 3. Is your work influenced by any notable Southern artists?
"The First Time I Saw A Painter" by Pat Snow
PS: I do look at some Southern Artists like Red Grooms – he was originally from Nashville – and the works of artists and teachers from Black Mountain College (1933–1957) in North Carolina who had a big influence on my work. The first “modern art ” show I saw was of Robert Rauschenberg (Texas native). He had a show at the Anniston Museum of Natural history in Anniston, Alabama (my home town) when I was around nine. He had all his famous pieces there including his piece Monogram, which is a stuffed ram standing on signs and screen prints and the ram has paint on its face and a tire around its body. The rest of the show was screen prints on cardboard boxes. He was using southern vernacular signage and combining it with images from the larger world. That show blew me away as a child. I don’t know if you ever been in a situation where the new or the novel idea is so strong that it makes you giddy and light headed… it happened to me on that day. That feeling of discovery and adventure has stayed with. I didn’t have to understand it, but that is what drew me to it and art in general.
WF: 4. Your work seems to be heavily rooted in some of the so-called “folk art” traditions in America. I think many people tend to think of folk artists as being poor and, typically, black. Has anyone ever seen your work only to be surprised that you’re a white guy?
PS: My work has been lumped in with outsider and Southern folk art. For the first several years that I showed my art I was often in shows with other Southern outsider artists, because I identified very strongly with the DIY aspect to their work and it blended well with my DIY/Punk ethos. I also worked with Mose T and Howard Finster and learned a lot about their studio practices that I incorporated into my own work.
"When I was a Black Boy" by Pat Snow
Several times my work has been mistaken for a black artist, especially when I talk about race. I was in a show at the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham Alabama. I had a piece entitled “When I was a black boy I fought the waves like Ali.” It had to do with me being a white kid and emulating my childhood hero, Muhammad Ali. I went to the awards ceremony, and I didn’t think anything of being the only white artist there. I went on to win the grand prize for the show, and I received my award from Reverend Shuttlesworth. The older black ladies in the audience were giving me some grief for being white, and Reverend Shuttlesworth gave me a look and I asked him if I could have a moment to explain the art. He said something like “you better.” I took the opportunity to explain the art and, by the end of the explanation, I had won over the skeptical members of the audience.
WF: 5. There tends to be a belief that Southerners must deal with the issue of race in their art. How have you, beyond that one piece?
PS: I think for a certain generation of Southern artists it’s still a concern. I can still remember growing up in Anniston and knowing the FBI agent that investigated the burning of the Freedom Riders bus and also knowing people that claimed to have been in the mob that burned it. I can also remember sitting at a business one night and seeing Bobby Frank Cherry having coffee, and the next day he was convicted of bombing the 16th Street Baptist Church. I saw U.S. Attorney Doug Jones at Highlands Bar and Grill having a Scotch – by himself – after he won his case prosecuting Bobby Frank Cherry. So those images have stayed with me and have given me a certain perspective on the idea of race, especially with the way the South deals with it.
"I think my dog is a racist" by Pat Snow
In my own art, I will deal with race from time to time, and I try to use humor to point out the weirdness of the construct of race. I find people accept humor much more easily than just preaching. I have two pieces about race that seem to strike a chord with people. One is called, “The First Time I ever Touched a Black Person.” It is written from the perspective of a small child who thinks he can catch “blackness” and goes home to check his freckles to see if they are growing together. The other piece is, “I Think My Dog is A Racist.” It deals with my bird dog delivering a litter, and only one is pure bred. She dotes on the one pure bred dog and barely tolerates the other pups.
WF: 6. I’ve always been struck by the use of narrative in your art. How did that develop?
PS: I always wrote on my art, even back in kindergarten. I was always trying to tell some type of story. I think that there were two influences that really pushed text into my art. One was working with Howard Finster. He would write on everything. It was his way of preaching and reaching more people with his message. The other influence was the works of the Surrealists. They would use text with their work in a much more sophisticated way that intrigued me.
WF: 7. Do you think of yourself as a writer as well as an artist? What literary traditions have influenced the narrative aspects of your work?
PS: I really don’t think of myself as a writer. I think I am still traumatized by making several Ds in my creative writing classes in college. I think of myself as someone who tells monologues and has to write them down on something.
There are several literary traditions that I work with. Some are obvious like Southern short stories like Faulkner and that crew and the beat writers. I also like “found writing” – like notes you find and you have to imagine to whom they were written.
WF: 8. Where do you want to go with your work? How do you want to see it evolve?
PS: The way I see my work evolve is to do larger installations and branch out in to some sculptural work to go with the work on paper. I would like to make the work more open to interpretation and to be a little less first person, to have a little more mystery to the work.
WF: 9. Finally, how would you define a Real Southern Man?
PS: A Real Southern Man is a man that can identify 90% of the casseroles at a church social and will eat what ever is in that crazy jello salad , just to make the old blue hair church lady happy.
Fellowship Grant Award
I recently won the Fellowship Grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts for the 2010 -2011 fiscal year. You can read more about the award on the links page
Birmingham Museum Of Art
The Birmingham Museum of Art purchased The 'El' , December 2009 and will be on display until the middle of March 2010 in the contemp. gallery