“Dancing With the Dark”: Joan Snyder’s Life in Prints

September 13, 2011

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Joan Snyder’s expressionist and feminist view on life has taken over the white walls of the Boston University Art Gallery. The exhibition, titled “Dancing with the Dark: Joan Snyder Prints 1963-2010”, opened on Thursday night and presents 66 works created at various points in Snyder’s career.

Snyder attended Douglass College and received her M.F.A from Rutgers University in 1966. Her work has contributed to various museum collections, including Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and more.

Joan Snyder's intimate works. | Photo by Meghan Gilligan

Snyder’s work is full of emotion: each print evokes strong feelings of joy or sadness—often both. Through her vibrant use of color and thick brushstrokes paired with personal subject matter, Snyder has really put herself out there with her first print retrospective.

“Joan Snyder creates art that explores universal themes filtered through deeply personal experiences, among them female sexuality, motherhood, mortality, and outrage at injustice,” the exhibition description states.

The most visually stimulating prints on display were those covered in writing. From afar, they seemed to evoke happiness with bright colors and thick brushstrokes, but up close, the words written were violent and harsh, for example nails, grid, rust, etc.

“A very common theme of [Snyder’s] is the duality of life and the elements of anxiety and sorrow that are constantly intertwined with joy and happiness,” B.U. College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) student Michael Jeffrey said. “They can’t be separated.”           

“Dancing With the Dark” will be on display in the B.U. Art Gallery in the College of Fine Arts through October 30th. Go to http://www.bu.edu/art/exhibitions/current/ for more information.