Canadian artist Michael Snow has died at the age of 94. Over a career spanning eight decades, Snow made use of painting, sculpture, photography, print, sound and moving image to create a body of work that was playful and relentless in exploring the limits of perception. Jack Shainman Gallery, which represents the artist, confirmed Snow’s passing.
Working primarily as a musician after graduating from The Ontario College of Art, Snow got into film via animation. Moving to New York in the 1960s, Snow’s experiments in film created longterm associations with Jonas Mekas and Steve Reich, moving back to Toronto in the 1970s to continue work led by experimentation and layered uses of photographic and film media. His film Wavelength (1967) gained him an international audience, its 45-minute slow zoom shot remaining a defining film of the era. Snow continued to exhibit new work and play music over the decades, with films exploring mechanised camera movements, such as Back and Forth (1969), and La Région Centrale (1971), and uses of language in So Is This (1982). His most recent exhibition of new work, revolving around his book My Mother’s Collection of Photographs (2022), is currently on at Martine Aboucaya, Paris.
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.’