Saturday, January 7, 2023

Canadian Artist Michael Snow of The Audience Sky Dome Rogers Centre, Flight Stop Eaton Centre and Walking Women Expo 67 Dead at 94

Today I learned of the death of Michael Snow.  

I was making my coffee, 
as I do at 5 a.m. every morning, 
and CBC shared the news:  
'Avant-garde Canadian Artist Dead at 94'. 

"Artist?" I said out loud.  
I flipped the coffeepot on. 
Plopped into my chair and opened my laptop.

Who the hell is Michael Snow?
Why didn't I know his name?
Why hadn't I paid attention?

And then I saw.
Oh my goodness.

My entire creative life had been
touched by his art.
The memories of witnessing his talent.
Imprinted inside me.
His work inspired and informed my artist soul.

First when I attended Expo '67 in Montreal
as a young girl.
I remember his 'Walking Women'.
I recall the fuss and the lineup to see it.
I had no idea who the Artist was.

Then as a teenager in the 1970s
hanging out at the Eaton Centre
in Toronto, day after day after day.
(skipping school sorry Mom & Dad)
Walking through the door to the expansive, soaring
ceiling;  taking a deep breath while looking up
in awe at the flock of Canadian Geese.
I marveled. They were magical.
I had no idea who the Artist was.

If you have ever been to the Rogers Centre
(Sky Dome as it was know when it opened in 1989)
you know 'The Audience'.
The gold people reaching out of the building.
A shining, fun sculpture.
I had no idea who the Artist was.

Did it really matter that I didn't know his name?
Does the name count if the art still touches us?

Everyone knows 'Picasso'
but not necessarily his art.

Everyone knows 'Annie Leibovitz'
and probably many of her photographs.

But if we ask the average Canadian
who Michael Snow is,
they may ask
'Was he related to Jon Snow

I feel sad that I didn't know his name.
That I didn't have enough respect to learn his name.
I wonder why I wasn't taught his name in school.
Curious why my parents didn't share his name.
Perhaps it didn't matter to them.
Irrelevant perhaps?
They loved his artworks too.
This I know to be true.

Why didn't I pay attention
and seek out his name?

If Michael had unveiled
all of his masterpieces today,
I most definitely would
know his name because I would
ferociously read everything
I could about him.

Which makes me wonder,
when did I become a hungry researcher?
A lot later than I should have.

Rest in Peace

I wish I knew you.
I wish I could have spent time with you.
I wish we could have gone on
a photoshoot together!

I now know who you are and I promise
to share your name and legacy
with everyone.

"Michael Snow"

The Audience – by Michael Snow is a collection of larger-than-life depictions of fans above the northeast and northwest entrances. Painted gold, the sculptures show fans in various acts of celebration.

Michael James Aleck Snow CC RCA (December 10, 1928 – January 5, 2023) was a Canadian artist who worked in a range of media including film, installation, sculpture, photography, and music. His best-known films are Wavelength (1967) and La Région Centrale (1971), with the former regarded as a milestone in avant-garde cinema.

In 1979, Mr. Snow created “Flight Stop” for the atrium of the Eaton Centre, a multilevel mall in Toronto. The piece consisted of 60 life-size Canada geese fashioned from fiberglass and suspended from the top of the atrium, frozen in flight.Credit...

Dick Loek/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Michael Snow was a Toronto born artist known internationally as a painter, sculptor, filmmaker, musician and author.  He died on Jan. 5, 2023 at the age of 94.

Michael Snow was undoubtedly the most influential postwar Canadian artist,” said Adelina Vlas, head of curatorial affairs at the Power Plant art gallery in Toronto.

Writing on the 2021 reprint of his 1975 book-artwork Cover to Cover, Snow was described in ArtReview as ‘a rare beast: a structuralist with a sense of humour, a filmmaker who recognised that tinkering around with the limitations of the medium was also a way to rewire our sense of everyday perception – using art as a means to capture and crystallise the whatthefuckness of strolling around with a thinking, feeling body.’

"Fish Story"
Photos on acrylic


COPYRIGHT 2007-2023 Patti Friday b.1959.

Watch the short film about Michael Snow in the tweet below:


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