Philippe Van Snick
14 October – 12 December 1999

For the last fifteen years, Belgian artist Philippe Van Snick has been working with the concept of time, specifically, the dualism of day and night, or the lightness and darkness that signify its passing. The component colours of light (and its absence) also play a significant role. As does the number 10, which one finds in the guise of the decimal system or in the artist's use of a 10-colour palette (the primary colours, secondary colours, black, white, gold and silver). For Van Snick, light and colour are both scientific, objective descriptions as well as subjective codes inspired by our everyday experience.

For his first exhibition in North America, Philippe Van Snick will create a site-sensitive installation that involves painting directly onto the walls of the gallery. This new work, which employs the artist's 10-colour system, continues his investigations of day and night as represented by the symbolic abstracts of blue and black. A number of Van Snick's earlier paintings and wall works will serve to contextualize the new installation.

For Van Snick, painting is more than a flat plane against a wall. Basic forms and volumes such as squares and rectangles, cubes and beams are used to create a hybrid between painting and sculpture. Working in an area between the two disciplines, the artist attaches significance to the relationships among the viewer, architecture, and art objects, on an experiential level. The main issue of his work is to introduce the physical into painting, for the viewer to experience the frontiers of painting as a concrete experience. More recently, Van Snick has produced paintings that appear to have a delicate skin, as permeable as the human body. The sculptural, three-dimensional surface of this work is thereby transformed from a rigid geometric container to a seemingly malleable substance, where contours soften and the works appear to breathe and exist in time.

Philippe Van Snick's work was included in the recent exhibition, Trouble Spot: Painting, curated by Luc Tuymans at MuHKA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Antwerp, Belgium; and in Artists from Flanders, an off-site exhibition curated by Jan Hoet for the 1999 Venice Biennale.

An artist's book, with a text contribution by Walter Klepac, will accompany the exhibition. The publication is produced in collaboration with Belgian fine art book publisher Yves Gevaert.

Public Dialogue
Andy Patton and Philippe Van Snick Thursday, October 14, 1999. 7:00 pm In conjunction with the exhibition, the AGYU will organize a public dialogue between Philippe Van Snick and Toronto painter Andy Patton during the opening reception. The two artists will discuss a variety of issues and methods relating to their respective works. For more information, please contact the AGYU at (416) 736-5169.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of The Canada Council for the Arts, the Consulate General of Belgium, and the Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, Belgium.
Art Gallery of York University | Accolade East Building, 4700 Keele Street | Toronto ON M3J 1P3 | agyu [at]