Paul Snell - Visceral


Artist Statement

The pause, the gap and the omission are increasingly significant

in our saturated image driven society.

Through this work the daily saturation is replaced by selective sensitisation,

these pieces continue my exploration

of non-representative forms and examines the

possibilities of abstraction and minimalism in photo-media.

The work investigates the

transformation of photographic modes of production

and the manipulation and exploitation of data to invent new visual forms.

By rhythmically repeating, pairing,

overlapping, reversing and sequencing through the investigations of specific

colour relationships, I seek a sensory understanding of the physical object.

These pieces are not representations of certain realities; they are their own reality.


Exhibition Details

 Exhibition dates from: 11th Feb - 25th Feb 2022  

Address: Studio Gallery - 1238 High St - Armadale VIC

Gallery hours: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Sunday

Please join us for opening night drinks to celebrate.

Exhibition Opening: 6:30-10:00pm, Friday 11th Feb, 2022



We surf an endless sea of information, with screens as our vessels.

Simultaneously, our skulls host an instantaneous exchange witch takes place

between eye and brain. An image is registered, comprehended, forgotten.

Onwards we churn, with no horizon in sight. 

Paul Snell's recent works lure the viewer into a meditation on image saturation.

The title of this exhibition, Visceral, brings the body back into the equation - not just eye and brain, but gut.

These new works have emerged instinctively out fo the artist's process, and

consequently they grab the viewer viscerally, harnessing the senses and luring

them around the composition into voids and point of tension.


The source imagery for these works, plucked from all corners of the world wide

web, has been digitally abstracted and manipulated by the artist to painterly effect.

Scrolling, flicking and pinching at flatness has given way to absorbing fields of

colour which swirl, diffuse and envelop.

These images are presented at large scale

and embedded behind a matte plexiglass surface.

Drawing the body towards this threshold, the gaze seeks to find a place to land.

The onomatopoeic quality of the word visceral was a key point of departure for

Snell when developing this body of work.

The tones employed in many of the works in the exhibition - blood red, deep purple

and velvety black - recall the dark recesses of the body's interior,

while brighter gold and blue hues evoke the light behind closed eyelids,

or veins perceptible beneath translucent skin.


The viewer seeks coherence in these compositions, but their gaze is pushed and

pilled this way and that, enticed into murkiness or bathes in ethereal light.

Snell's manipulation of the picture plane conjures defined ridges, soft valleys and

ghostly shadows.

A suggestions of three-dimensionality, brought into being through pixels and

plexiglass, calls to the viewer.

Several of these new works are diptychs comprised of a pair of almost-mirror

images, their points of difference plating across the work's horizon.

In other works, the ruptures are more subtle, leaving the eye seeking round the

soft surface before setting upon an almost imperceptible pulse.

Snell's use of palette and composition emerges out of a tradition of painting,

but his ultra-contemporary source material is the exponential bombardment of

images faced by humans in the digital age. His works are a place for bodies and

eyes to find movements of respite among the endless data. Soft waves gently

usher in the viewer, points of tension are found,

before voids provide a place to come to rest.

The works in Visceral are an interrogation of the digital deluge.

They are the swirling sensation of being dumped by a wave in the surf;

or the afterimage of a bright screen in a dark room.

They are endlessly scrolling images being sucked into a vortex;

or ungraspable scene being chased through a strange dream.

Chloé Wolifson, August 2021 



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