For Art Toronto this year, we are featuring three rare Michael Snow photographs.
Michael Snow’s iconic Walking Woman occupied his attention for a significant portion of 1961-1967. Snow placed the cut-out black plywood form in different urban contexts in Toronto and New York, and then photographed the reactions of passersby.
Our photograph “Subway” is a grid of 8 mounted black and white photographs that were taken in Toronto in 1962. Five of the photographs are repeated in Snow’s famous “Four to Five” (Collection AGO) and the middle photograph contains a self portrait. The rare photograph reveals Snow’s interest in film and the movement between dimensions – taking a two-dimensional representation of the silhouetted Walking Woman, placing it in a three dimensional world and then returning it into a two-dimensional photograph.
The colour photograph “Walking Woman in the Subway” was taken by Snow on one of his many return trips from NYC to Toronto in 1963. The photograph was included in Snow’s “BIOGRAPHIE of the Walking Woman”, a book devoted to recording the many interactions and encounters of the Walking Women with the public.
In 1999, Snow visited Venice for a family celebration and decided to add to the original idea of his “Venetian Blind” (1970). The diptych “Venetian Blind Revisited” was taken in St. Marks Square in Venice. Snow faces the camera with his eyes closed. His foregrounded head obscures the “tourist” view behind him. We, as the viewer, are frustrated by the experience of the “Venetian” at the expense of the “Blind” of the artist. The series shows the influence of his film practice and his interest in a re-imagined self portraiture.
Michael Snow was born in 1928 in Toronto, where he lives and works today. He has received honorary degrees from the University of Toronto (1999), the University of Victoria (1997), the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1990), and Brock University (1975).
Snow has received several prestigious awards including: the Gershon Iskowitz Prize (2011), the Guggenheim Fellowship (1972), the Order of Canada in (1982), and the Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres, France (1995, 2011). There has been a great deal of scholarship focusing on Snow, including the multi-volume Michael Snow Project published in 1994 by the Power Plant and the Art Gallery of Ontario, both in Toronto, to accompany four simultaneous exhibitions at the two venues that same year.
Recent solo exhibitions include Sequences at La Virreina Image Centre in Barcelona, Spain (2015), Michael Snow: Photo-Centric at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2014), Michael Snow: Objects of Vision, Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2012), Solo Snow: Works of Michael Snow, Akbank Sanat, Turkey (2012), Michael Snow, Vienna Secession, Austria (2012), In the Way, àngels barcelona, Barcelona (2011), and Solo Snow, Le Fresnoy, France (2011).
Snow’s work has been included in countless group exhibitions, most recently including the Canadian Biennial (2012), Videosphere: A New Generation at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, NY (2012), 1969 at MoMA PS1, NY (2009), and the Whitney Biennial, NY (2006), as well as exhibitions held for the reopening of both the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2000) and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2005), the latter at which three works are currently installed. Snow’s work is in various private and public collections throughout the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Ludwig Museum, Austria and Germany; the Musée National d’Art Modern, Centre Pompidou, France; the Musée des Beaux Arts, Canada; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; and the National Gallery of Canada.