The Montreal Museum of Fine Art has a work by artist Michael Snow within their permanent collection titled Place des peaux, which he created in 1998. This work consists of suspended stretchers filled with coloured transparencies.
Canadian Art describes Michael Snow's practice as "an exploration of perception," and this work is no exception. As a viewer moves through the space, their perception of its colours, shadows, and lines shift with their progression through the room. No two perspectives of this work offer the same experience.
The accompanying text for the AGO exhibition, Objects of Vision, states "Snow has always been a sculptor. "A pure sculptor," he explains, "an artist who makes objects." He makes things to look through, look around, look along, look at, up, down and behind, to look at yourself looking at things. By making vision the subject of the object, the looking activates the object."
We were drawn to this work because of its allusions to a number of artistic traditions. The stretcher-like supports reference the tradition of painting, and the coloured transparencies, which take the place of canvas, read as lighting gels in a theatre production. Place des peaux is impressively interdisciplinary and impactful, and an significant example of the importance of Snow's body of work as a whole.
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