Snoddy wants viewers to look at the relationships between his works, and how he carries lines and formats from one picture over to another. He sometimes regards two consecutive paintings as a diptych, with left and right-hand panels forming parts of a composite whole. There is an obsessive commitment to playing out endless permutations of specific forms and he goes along with an ontological methodology. The work becomes defined by its geometries, serial approach and limitless variations. In his own words, ‘The paintings often come in pairs or a small series and incorporate architectural and geometric structures with colour to get everything right – space, line, form. The final result is a balanced resolution made through corrections, revisions and re-workings.’
He always starts by picking up on elements from a previous painting. Then he constructs a multi lined grid, and the interjection of these lines helps him to arrive at a new work. While this sounds methodical, intuition plays its part and is revealed in the pentimenti inherent in the act of painting. He often regards it as a cousin of the earlier painting – related, yet not too closely. Snoddy likens the whole activity of making art to building a family. But he is even more convinced that structure is the absolute key to a fully considered and contemplative painting. He invites us to think about process, and work out for ourselves how the images have been arrived at. He says, ‘I would hope that the paintings reward looking at to induce a slow, inexorable awareness of intricate relationships’ and ‘through the reworking of the paintings glimpses of the decision making reveal themselves.’
Although Snoddy’s art is fundamentally abstract, it includes a fascinating range of references to the visible world. Architecture can be counted among them, partly because he sees himself building the internal scaffolding of his paintings as the work proceeds and he has always wanted his paintings to possess a strong internal order.
Abridged from Richard Cork catalogue text, ‘Looking Out’. Brussels 2016
Stephen Snoddy was born in Belfast, NI and studied at Belfast College of Art graduating with an MA in Fine Art before moving to Manchester in 1986 to complete a postgraduate in Museum Studies. From 1987 he has worked in various Gallery’s across England and had a successful Directorial and curatorial career working with such artists as Bruce McLean, Richard Long, Annette Messager, Rita Donagh, John Baldessari, Richard Wilson, Elizabeth Magill, Jochen Gerz, Giuseppe Penone, Christopher Le Brun, Gillian Ayres and many others. In 2013 he began painting again and has had solo exhibitions in Brussels, London and Southampton CAG and he has been shortlisted for the Young Masters Awards in 2017 and the Greater Manchester Artists Award in 2019. His work is in private collections in the UK, USA, Norway, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and South Korea and in Southampton CAG, University of Ulster and Open University and Yantai Art Museum, China.