Joan Snyder

Painting Pioneer

Joan Snyder is an avowed feminist who is part of the first generation of women artists to identify themselves as such. The Jewish Museum notes that along with Miriam Schapiro and others, Snyder “strove to tame the heroic gestures of male-dominated Abstract Expressionism into a new intimate painterly language.”

Snyder was a founding member of the feminist art group the Heresies Collective in the 1970s, and she claims a distinct female sensibility in her work, which she once characterized as “layers, words membranes, cotton, cloth, rope, repetition, bodies, wet, opening, closing…lists, life stories, grids, houses, intimacy, doorways….” When the neoexpressionist movement lauded its male stars in the 1980s, Snyder wrote an essay about the women painters who had pioneered self-expression in their art. Its tide: “It Wasn’t Neo to Us.”

She has said, “When 1 started to paint, it was like speaking for the first time.” Many of the paintings in this show give voice to Jewish experiences, “Women in Camps” and “Study for Morning Requiem with Kaddish” in particular.

Born in Highland Park New Jersey in 1940, Joan Snyder now lives in Brooklyn and Woodstock, New York. Joan Snyder: A Painting Survey, 1969-2005, an exhibition that features 31 major works, is on view the Jewish Museum in New York until October 23, 2005 {, and at the Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham, Massachusetts November 10, 2005 through February 5, 2006 { And watch for the new book Joan Snyder, by Hayden Herrera (Abrams, 2005).