(Toronto) Multidisciplinary artist Michael Snow, known in Canada and abroad for his abstract painting, public sculpture, and experimental film. Wavelength 1967, he died at the age of 94.
The Toronto-born artist died Thursday, said Tamsen Greene, a senior director at New York’s Jack Shainman Gallery, which represented Snow.
The National Gallery of Canada said in a statement that Snow was “a giant of the art world, in Canada and internationally” and “a tremendous ambassador.” He adds that “his legacy from him is that of an unprecedented transformation of the relationship between the work of art and the viewer.”
His creative experiences challenged perceptions and ultimately changed the way we understand art, the world, and each other.
Extract from the press release of the National Gallery of Canada
Some of his best-known projects are works of public art, including the geese installation. flight stop the Toronto Eaton Centre, created in 1979, and The audience of the Rogers Centre, a sculpture of cheering fans that was unveiled when the SkyDome opened in 1989.
snow the filmmaker
Throughout his artistic career, Snow has experimented with various media, including film, painting, sculpture, photography, and music. However, to many moviegoers, he is perhaps best known for inspiring the name Wavelengths, which designates the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) experimental film program.
TIFF Managing Director Cameron Bailey called Snow’s work in the visual arts transformative.
“Silently, he pushed the boundaries,” Bailey said in a statement dedicated to his contribution to cinema.
Cameron Bailey, executive director of TIFF, adds that Wavelengthnotable for its 45-minute camera zoom, “remains its most powerful gift.”
An interview with Snow as part of the podcast series uncut TIFF in 2017 he highlighted his interest in art in his adolescence and the extraordinary perspectives that some fortuitous encounters opened up for him.
Snow said that he started playing music in high school. Soon after he traveled to Europe, where during part of the 1950s he set out to “try to find yourself, look at art and hitch a ride.” He also spent those years drawing, a practice he fully embraced upon his return to Toronto, where he enrolled at the Ontario College of Art, now known as OCAD University.
An exhibition of his works at the Hart House of the University of Toronto allowed him to meet George Dunning, a Canadian producer and director, who would go on to direct the Beatles’ animated film. Yellow Submarine in 1968.
Dunning was light years away from this psychedelic project, but was seduced by Snow’s early work, telling him that “whoever did these drawings was someone who must be interested in film.”
As it turns out, Snow had little interest in it. It seems that he “rarely” went to the movies, but was intrigued by the idea of applying his knowledge to animation and accepted a job offer from Dunning to learn animation.
My initiation to the cinema was done in this way. I had no particular interest in film and was introduced to its mechanics, what it is, frame by frame.
Michael Snow, in a podcast of the series uncut TIFFin 2017
Snow moved to New York in the 1960s and was exposed to the experimental film world of Manhattan.
She would return north to present at the 1967 Montreal Expo a series of silhouette sculptures inspired by her Walking Woman persona, a series of projects she created throughout the 1960s.
In the same year he presented Wavelengthhis 45-minute medium-length film that takes place entirely inside an attic, with the camera slowly zooming in on a window frame.
Wavelength it won the grand prize at the Knokke Experimental Film Festival that year, exposing Snow to a new audience and encouraging him to continue his research in the field of experimental cinema.
In the years that followed, Snow did not neglect his other artistic passions.
In 1970 he participated in a solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale and in 1974 he was part of the Canadian Creative Music Collective, an improv group that founded the Music Gallery in Toronto.
He also continued to make experimental short films, while exhibiting some of his other work around the world, including at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Snow received the Order of Canada in 1981 and was made a Companion in 2007.