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Pat Snow: Monologue

The exhibition weaves anecdotes into a story of the artist's life and also his creative range

Reviewed by Caitlin Greenwood, Fri., May 2, 2014

<i>Monologue</i> (detail), by Pat Snow
Monologue (detail), by Pat Snow

Big Medium Gallery at Bolm, 5305 Bolm #12
www.bigmedium.org
Through May 3

Everyone has a story to tell, but Pat Snow arguably just has better stories. It's partly his excitement in the retelling: His tone denotes an inflection of "And then!" as he launches into the next tale. Many of his stories offer an unruly yet wholly endearing perspective on his hometown of Birmingham, Ala., and in large part this nostalgia directs the exhibition "Monologue."

Big Medium's gallery has been decorated with mementos of Snow's past. Illustrative watercolor vignettes – quotes and quips spanning decades of Snow's notebooks, which provided the source material – cover an entire wall. The vague statements, such as "Just livin' the dream" and "Oh! Sweet nuthin'," are meant to be stand-alone sentiments. Taken all together, though, they weave a narrative of personal highs and lows, uncertainty, and drive, told to its audience in soft wisps of gray and black on white paper.

The interior gallery houses Snow's larger works (rough, black and white pieces painted directly on the walls) and some sculptural pieces. One painting tells of Snow being confronted about his faith at a drugstore while the portrait of a googly-eyed Jesus overlooks the hand-painted text. In another corner, a sizable stack of letters is housed in a wooden box. On further inspection, it's clear that this is an extensive collection of rejection letters. They speak of grants never awarded, exhibitions passed over, positions not granted. "Yeah, I've had quite a few people tell me to get rid of those," Snow says. "They ask, 'When will you let that baggage go?' They don't understand how it's funny," ending with a laugh before launching into a notable tale about how the circle of rejection was much more exciting before the Internet.

"Monologue" weaves a tale of not only the artist's life but also his creative range. From prints to paints, sculpture to installations, Snow seems comfortable switching between mediums almost on a whim – whatever strikes his fancy that day. Which launches Snow into an entirely different tale about how he procured much of the watercolor canvas for this particular exhibition. And we're off again, ever deeper into the "Monologue."

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