Homage to Kenneth Snodgrass: Exploring time

3 by Ellen Hall 3

“Take your time”, Kenneth Snodgrass’ 1979 painting, figures on the poster for the summer exhibition presented by the Conseil General at the Palais des Rois de Majorque. As an art student in Denver in 1960, he was already fascinated by the notion of time. His very first journal entry poses the question:” What is time?”
Snodgrass spent the next 15 years investigating the figurative fantasies of Pop Art inspired by Kerouac’s “On the Road” and Jasper Johns’ flags. With his arrival in Collioure in 1982 Snodgrass turned to Paul Klee-like abstract meditations on light, colour and form until his untimely death in 2000. The current show is dedicated to the transition from the worldly-wise Pop Art years to the Collioure period of spirituality.
Like so many painters who came to Collioure before him, Snodgrass was dazzled by the light of the Mediterranean. The colours of his canvases gradually softened. Forms became more abstract. He played with the symbolic nature of forms as in the series called “Letters” in which the alphabet becomes a decorative motif.
Words and symbols continued to inspire his work. “Time to time” (1997) shows two clocks (or are they faces?) suspended over a “timeline” of printed pages. In 1999 he returned to “On the road” for the title of a painting whose central image is part of a weathered map. During the last years of his life he created a series of portraits of family and friends. He wrote, “Every painting is a self-portrait.” Did he worry that time was running out?
A fine book in both English and French gives a detailed insight into this original painter and thinker. “Kenneth Martin Snodgrass: A retrospective: Denver-Collioure” is on sale at the exhibition, as well as from Amazon.

[(Kenneth Martin Snodgrass: From 2 July to 13 September, Palais des Rois de Majorque, Perpignan. Open 10h00 to 18h00 7 days a week. For further info: [www.kenneth-snodgrass.com->www.kenneth-snodgrass.com].)]

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