Michael Snow

(b. 1929)

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(1929– )

Canadian film-maker, painter, sculptor, and musician, born in Toronto. He studied design at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto, then in 1953 travelled in Europe, working as a jazz musician. Back in Toronto he had his first one-man exhibition as a painter at the Isaacs Gallery in 1957, but he earned his living as an animator with a small film company, Graphic Associates. Here he met his future wife Joyce Wieland (1931– ), a painter, film-maker, experimental artist, and maker of stuffed wall-hangings and quilts. They married in Paris in 1960 and spent most of the following decade in New York. Each began making films in 1963 and Snow became regarded as a leading figure in the American Underground. At the same time he continued to exhibit as a painter and sculptor in Toronto and became well known for his ‘Walking Woman’ series (1962–7), executed in various media, featuring a generalized silhouette of a young woman caught in midstride (shiny life-size metal versions were shown at Expo 67 in Montreal). Dennis Reid (A Concise History of Canadian Painting, 1973) accords Snow an extraordinarily high status: he describes him as ‘the giant figure of painting in Toronto’ and writes that ‘a number of informed observers look upon Snow as one of the greatest innovative geniuses film has ever attracted’. He has continued to be a leading figure in Canadian art, and in 1994 his work was conspicuously displayed in various parts of Toronto as ‘The Michael Snow Project’; this included, for example, enormous sculptures on the exterior of the Skydome sports stadium.

Subjects: Art.

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