Michael Snow came from a family with two cultures – English and French, and used his artwork to look at the juxtaposition between the two using visual art, experimental film and music. His contributions to these have been recognised internationally. His father became blind after an accident at a work site, and Snow reflected on this inspiration through his drawing, painting and writing. He often turned to music throughout his life, and improvised many of his pieces when performing, recording and composing for international audiences.
His travelling exposed him to painting and sculpture, as well as the work of Paul Klee, which confirmed his decision to become an artist. Working with film allowed him to continually experiment with music and more visual and still art. As a multi-disciplined individual, he was able to draw upon many aspects to create one piece of work, and translate it through those aspects. Snow was always conscious of the nature of the medium he was using, and manipulated it to intensify the spectator’s involvement with the artwork.
My paintings are done by a filmmaker, sculpture by a musician, films by a painter, music by a filmmaker, paintings by a sculptor, sculpture by a filmmaker, films by a musician, music by a sculptor… sometimes they all work together. Also, many of my paintings have been done by a painter, sculpture by a sculptor, films by a filmmaker, music by a musician. There is a tendency towards purity in all of these media as separate endeavours.” – ACI
When visiting his artwork in the National Gallery, Ottawa, I found that his artwork was very different to what I had anticipated. The photography was intimate and showed individual steps, while his sculpture made you explore. Within both artworks, you were able to view yourself, or someone else, through it, making the viewer more involved with the piece. Coming from an often narcissistic society and generation, with the use of selfies and social media, these pieces make you think about the wider world, and the relationship between cause and effect, and how view points can differ.