Lot # 026
Art d'Après-Guerre et Contemporain Live auction

Michael James Aleck Snow
OC RCA 1928 - Canadian

On the Hero Myth
oil on canvas board on wood
signed and dated 1955 and on verso signed, titled and dated
17 1/2 x 14 1/4 pouces  44.5 x 36.2cm

Private Collection, Montreal

Dennis Reid, Philip Monk and Louis Dompierre, The Michael Snow Project, Art Gallery of Ontario and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, 1994, reproduced page 262

Art Gallery of Ontario and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, The Michael Snow Project, March 11 - June 5, 1994, catalogue #156

Standing fiercely, the imposing figure in Michael Snow’s On the Hero Myth is a strikingly modern take on the classical subject of the hero. Executed in 1955, this work shows a mythical figure with a spectacularly muscular body, victoriously clenching his weaponry. Snow layers his energetic painterly gestures using a rich palette of pinks, beiges, soft yellows and lavenders over a mottled background of maroons, blues, purples and reds. The hero commands the centre of the composition, part icon and part anatomical illustration. Lilac, cobalt, purple and red lines run across his torso, arms and face, resembling the circulatory system. Various areas of the work are identified by yellow and white arrows with traces of indistinct text inscriptions. Typically semi-divine, heroes are mythical characters who, facing adversity, achieve extraordinary feats by calling upon their strength, intelligence and bravery. Although powerful, this hero is also vulnerable, with his exposed gleaming red heart, reminding us of his mortal nature.

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