Joe Snarey explores the tangible fabrication of memories in his solo exhibit 'GL_TCH_D'

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 at 8:59 PM
Joe Snarey explores the tangible fabrication of memories in his solo exhibit 'GL_TCH_D' by Hazel Modlin

From Feb. 10-14, Joe Snarey — who is currently pursuing a dual concentration in both drawing and sculpture at Edinboro — held a unique exhibition titled “GL_TCH_D,” pronounced “glitched.”

Snarey chose this topic because he sympathizes with the idea of a glitch. He described the concept as “part of a program, but they’re always the bad part.”

“It’s always the part that normally human error causes, and so for me, I’m in a program that focuses on technical skill, and I am in the departments that are traditional object makers. And with what I want to do, I’m technically the glitch in my program,” he explained. Snarey is a dual major in a school that pushes people to choose a single form of art to concentrate in and develop, and he believes that this makes him the “glitch.”

His exhibit is unique in the sense that it’s entirely composed of one giant piece that takes over the entire room.

Snarey described the setup: “In this space right here, it is one whole piece — it is one installation. When this space is taken down, I view them all as separate pieces, and how they’re put up kind of tells a certain narrative based on what each of the works is themed after.”

The exhibit is composed of black and white intersecting lines, with an occasional red streak. There are also plastic strips woven together that are hung sporadically along the walls to create abstract pictures. Snarey said that these strips originally composed over 50 individual pieces.

According to Snarey, these plastic strips are meant to represent the fragility of memory. “It’s always been something that is so fascinating to me with the disorders that I have. As time goes on, my memories tend to fragment — in a way, ‘glitch’ out. They change, they disappear in some areas, but there are certain things I can hyper-focus on [and] that remain in my brain forever. I wanted this plastic material to essentially be kind of a juxtaposition to putting memories down into drawing format, where memories are so here-and-gone in a moment’s notice, but the plastic is meant to be here forever.”

Because the plastic is permanent and tangible, Snarey is able to cut the drawings and weave them together, much in the same way that he feels memory can be manipulated. He mentioned that his exhibit, “much like the memories, gets cloudy, and you lose certain parts of one drawing; you see others depending upon how it’s formed together, and with the plastic kind of cementing it, they will permanently stay like that.” The drawings that he cut up ranged anywhere from abstract iconography to fully rendered drawings of various objects, settings and scenes. They display different messages based on the different ways he chooses to cut them up and recreate them.

In addition to putting up plastic on the walls, Snarey also painted on the actual walls of Bates Gallery. He wasn’t entirely sure he would be allowed to do so, but he said, “I have the personal philosophy that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission and reroute your whole idea around that.” He did not face any consequences for painting on the walls by the time he had taken his exhibit down, so Snarey assumes he must have been permitted to.

The majority of the exhibit is done in black and white; the only other color that could be found within the room was a startlingly rich red in random stripes along the wall, but also in the dim lighting of the exhibition.

Snarey explained that the choice of this color and lighting was deliberate and for psychological reasons. “For one, [lighting] can be really good to hide a lot of flaws. It’s also a way to really bring out certain things that in a normal, white-lit gallery space you don’t really get to pull out. And so the intentions of the red lighting is so that it can kinda add a warmth to a space that is overly chaotic, but also apply a kind of focus within the center of a crown-of-thorns piece, so that way that contrasts everything else around the space.”

He continued to talk about how color theory filtered into his display: “Also, I wanted to play a little bit with how red in our primal brains really makes you get alert essentially. It’s a stimulant to us, so it keeps us on edge, but if you’re exposed to it for too long of a period, depending upon your personality, it forces upon you a personality of agitation and excitement.”

Before choosing his dual concentrations, Snarey originally came to Edinboro to be an art education major. After experiencing the major, he quickly decided it was not for him.

“I just assumed that I would have to learn everything, and my teachers taught me like that, so I didn’t really get to learn [as] much about the art process as I did get to learn about how to teach art.”

He decided that he was more interested in making art, but he could not choose a favorite type. “It kind of got me to the point where there were two things that I loved so much: drawing and sculpture. I couldn’t figure out which one I wanted more, so I figured, they’re so different from each other, why not do both?”

In addition to his lighting, woven plastic murals and paint on the walls in his exhibition, Snarey also put up QR codes around the room. “I wanted to bring a difference to a show here on campus. No one really plays with digital stuff, aside from the obvious — those that make their work through digital mediums like graphic designers or animators.” He also wanted to force his viewers to put effort into viewing an exhibition that he put effort into designing and then creating. You can scan QR codes with your phone camera and it will direct you to a digital element of the designer’s choice.
In the future, Snarey decided that he would like to attend graduate school. He said despite his decision not to be an art education major, he would like to have the ability to teach if he chooses to. “I’ve always loved teaching. It’s what brought me into the art program in the first place.”

In order to do so, he would have to continue on to get a Master of Fine Arts degree, but he has not decided on a location to do so yet.

Snarey’s exhibition is extensive, and it took him a couple days to put it up. He said that while exhibition students are technically supposed to set up from noon on the Saturday before their show until whenever they open, he was fortunate enough to have a considerate fellow art major before him. “I was so fortunate that Rachel Maly, who had the show before me, got in and got out real quick because she knew what I wanted to do this week. I got Friday night all the way into Sunday, so from about 8 p.m. Friday all the way up until Monday at 2 a.m.”

For those interested in more information about Snarey and his work, he can be found at his website: josephsnarey.com.

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