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University of Richmond Museums opens Dancing with the Dark: Joan Snyder Prints 1963-2010
Joan Snyder (American, born 1940), Madrigal X from 33 Madrigals, 2001, monoprint (color lithograph, monotype, and color woodcut) on paper, 33 1/2 x 35 1/2 inches, Collection of the artist. ©Joan Snyder.

RICHMOND, VA.- On view in the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, University of Richmond Museums, from January 24 to April 22, 2012, Dancing with the Dark: Joan Snyder Prints 1963-2010 features a selection of more than sixty works created between 1963 and 2010 by Joan Snyder (American, born 1940), and the exhibition is the first retrospective of the artist’s prints. A nationally noted painter and 2007 MacArthur Fellow, Snyder has developed a powerful body of work that explores aspects of nature, humanity, and identity. A pioneering feminist artist, she has infused her works with physical energy and vibrant color to express deeply personal experiences. For more than forty-seven years, she has created remarkable prints full of passion and zeal.

Born in Highland Park, New Jersey, Snyder received her A.B. from Douglass College, New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1962 and her M.F.A. from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1966. Starting in the early 1970s, Snyder was instrumental in establishing exhibition opportunities for women artists. She was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1974 and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1983. In 2007, Snyder received a MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius award.” Her art is represented in many museum collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Jewish Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. She currently lives in Brooklyn and Woodstock, New York.

This retrospective ranges from Snyder’s earliest landscape and portrait woodcuts, executed during her student years in the early 1960s, to mid-career prints that powerfully combine abstraction and expressionism, to later works engaging in deeply personal imagery. The works in the exhibition are drawn from the Zimmerli Art Museum collection and from the collection of the artist. Highlights of the exhibition include the series of eight working proofs for the color etching with woodcut, My Work…1997, in which a scattering of words surround a central hybrid heart-shaped form above the declaration: “My work has been absolutely faithful to me.” In the final editioned impression of My Work…, Snyder uses blood red and umber lines for defining the central image amid words that have constituted her art over the years: “grid,” “totems,” “breasts,” “symphonies,” “moons,” and “crimson.”

Also included is a unique installation piece titled SOULS Series (1993), which is a tribute to victims of AIDS. This installation features a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay and 21 prints printed from 6 wood blocks and hand-inked onto various fabrics and papers.

“Joan’s art is autobiographical and serves as a visual diary. Her prints, like her paintings, explore and expose her anxieties and passions, as well as strongly express her feelings of joy, rage or sorrow,” notes Marilyn Symmes, Director of the Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts and Curator of Prints and Drawings, Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, and curator of the exhibition. “Her background as a painter is evident in her execution of prints, which are full of textured, gestural forms and painterly applications of vivid color.”

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