Stephen Snoddy was born in Northern Ireland in 1959. After graduating in painting from the Belfast College of Art, he abandoned his brushes four years later to pursue a management career at the helm of several major art galleries in Great Britain. In 2012, he was given by his mother a book published back in 1981 and featuring monoprints of his own works… Galvanized by this rediscovery, he set to find the intensity which used to feed his creative work. He began painting again.
Today, Snoddy is presenting at the Roberto Polo Gallery an impressive series of paintings, all of which question space and architecture using the very same abstract technique he already tried out 35 years ago. Playing with fresh and powerful colours, Snoddy widens the field of vision, opens up new perspectives, with lines leading towards a third dimension. The shapes that structure his paintings make us think of mysterious places: the edges of a wall, doors leading into an enclosed space, windows opening up to a sunny environment. The vertical and horizontal lines give the painting its structure. This or that diagonal reveals the existence of a place behind the colours, inviting the gaze to enter the picture and imagine that there is a theatre stage, a backdrop on various levels.
For example, there seems to be a hidden plane behind the red area, hinted to by the bright blue covering it. There, the gradually layered mauve creates a wall hiding a barely perceptible elsewhere. In fact, Stephen Snoddy’s abstraction is… a narrative. Or akin to filmmaking. They are edited shots, views on courtyards, pathways to a landscape. Indeed, both colours and lines can tell stories!
In these majestic, radiating paintings, there is also great elation, and also – undoubtedly the newly found joy to create – a jubilance in selecting colours, and trying out all kinds of layouts. They reveal their author’s creative impulse, the pleasure he must have felt when devising and producing yet another composition, without fear, and without trying to create something entirely new. Colours, lines. What can a painter do with them? Just that. And it’s stunning.
Roberto Polo Gallery
8 – 12 rue Lebeau
Until 13 March
Tuesday – Friday, from 14:00 to 18:00, Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 to 18:00