by Lara Saget
“The Red Studio,” Joan Snitzer’s wall installation at A.I.R. Gallery inserts the artist’s studio into the gallery space, calling for an investigation of the nature of both private space and exhibition space. The title “The Red Studio” comes from Henri Matisse’s influential painting created over a century ago. Snitzer’s installation moves Matisse’s concept into another dimension, transforming flattened space into a dynamic gridded room. The installation itself is made up of painted canvases and familiar, quotidian objects found in an artist’s studio. The viewer becomes a subject within an artist’s studio, immersed in a recognizable yet novel world.
There is no single viewing point. The relationship between the objects and the canvases creates the dialogue. Each object is meticulously placed, building a rhythmic optical experience, which is specific to the gallery setting. Even though the objects are commonplace, the effect is that the viewer becomes a witness to the very act of seeing. Snitzer successfully references Matisse’s painting while bringing it to life in a contemporary way. Snitzer’s self-reflexive clarity coupled with her whimsical aesthetic eye make for a profoundly unique and well-curated installation.