“Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood”—Andy Goldsworthy
Snow, with its compelling sensory effects and ties to memories, has endless potential within works of art. Between Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s The Hunters in the Snow, Hokusai’s snow-capped mountains, wintry impressionist landscapes, and Calder mobiles, the meteorological phenomenon has become embedded in art history. Coinciding with the onset of winter weather in Europe, Basel gallery Marc de Puechredon extends this tradition into contemporary art with “Schneeweiss.” The group show, co-curated by Edward Cutler (of Edward Cutler Gallery), brings together works by Marischa Burckhardt, Christine Fausten, Rudolf de Crignis, Huger Foote, Andy Goldsworthy, Nicole Herzog Verrey, Hans Op de Beeck, Ed Ruscha, Manuela Sedmach, John Stark, Not Vital, and Uwe Walther.
“Schneeweiss,” which translates to “White Snow,” is informed by the gallery’s location in Switzerland and purports the significance of snow in regions where snowfall is tied to the local economy, ecology, and psychology. In addition, the show is informed by recent changes in global warming that have caused snow to fall in copious quantities and in regions where it was not so common in the past. John Stark’s Warmth reflects this type of dramatic intervention.
While each work in the show depicts or alludes to snow, not all are so literal. Ed Ruscha’s Mountain with Light Leaks is from a series of “Light Leaks” works that the artist has created, where he alters paintings or photographs of mountain ranges by adding bright white clouds that bleed into the composition from the edges of the canvas. Another instance of this is one of the show’s highlights, Hans Op de Beeck’s Staging Silence. The 20-minute film features a small-scale stage where two hands continuously change the scenery to reflect images from Op de Beeck’s memory, set to a score by Serge Lacroix. Towards the end of the film the hands dextrously create a snow-filled forest and special effects simulate a mini snowstorm.
Other highlights include an image of Andy Goldsworthy’s land art, Snow drift/carved into, 5. April, an elegant wavy trough carved into a field of snow and Not Vital’s Snowballs, an abstract print evoking the amorphous impressions snowballs make when thrown at a flat surface.