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Rufus Snoddy, Disappearing Man, Brown-2020. 2020, Acrylic on canvas, wood, and metal, 58 x 57 x 2 in. Detail.

Rufus Snoddy: Disappearing Man

SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 6, 2021 — AUGUST 21, 2021

The Disappearing Man work presents itself as a symbolic clarion call. It evokes a personal narrative of concern for future human existence. I utilize an array of generic, wide-eyed, naïve appearing, repetitive portraits of man. Like artists from the past, I am reflecting a contemporary narrative of social and cultural concern. These narratives often reach beyond bucolic settings and idealized versions of the world we inhabit  into sobering, darker spaces.  Picasso’s Guernica (1937), arguably one of his most significant paintings, is an example of the latter. Not only was it a statement about the brutality of the Nazi regime and the tragedies and suffering of wars, but also an anti-war sentiment and symbol of peace.

Fast forward to 2021. Global warming, a by-product of rampant consumerism--brought on by capitalist greed run amok--presents the human species with existential dilemmas that could, perhaps, be terminal. As demonstrated by most of his work, I am sure Picasso did not want to entertain this genre of art as a steady diet, and neither do I. However, at the moment, I am hard-pressed to think of anything of greater concern for my children, grand-children, and their children.

This environmental crisis, the nuclear bomb, hubris, racism, and blatant ignorance place all of us at risk. The social structure of patriarchy, particularly as used in political approaches to women having control of their own bodies and equality, does not bode well for our survival. Man generally displays behaviors that are sexist, racist, complacent, dogmatic, and naïve about important issues that affect the efficacy of his survival.  Planet earth is revealing threatening signs of results of this behavior and limitations of future survival. The Disappearing Man images are reflections of man as generic and stereotypically naïve in perception and in the lack of emphatic choices made in the face of these threats. 

Strangely and sadly, white supremacy in the United States has led to the  creation of a systemically racialized society that generally has the perspective of racial contamination or hypodescent, categorizing those who mix with the so-called white race as socially less than and always to remain defined as that non-white race (the “One Drop” Rule). Addressing this, many of my generic, naïve appearing, ”talking head” images of man are reduced to literal color and/or patterned representations of a racialized perspective, absurdly and wryly making reference  to methods of scientific depiction of the specimens of other species. The mouths are symbolically diminished  or disregarded, as metaphor for silence and general lack of alarm about our dire situation. Ultimately, race is an invented construct with no scientific basis thus no racial superiority and, as the human species, we are all endangered.

In comfort of ignorance, many sit silent with Thoughts and Prayers waiting for others to do the right thing, while blood continues to spill onto the streets and the polar ice caps melt.

-Rufus Snoddy

Image: Rufus Snoddy, Disappearing Man, Brown-2020. 2020, Acrylic on canvas, wood, and metal, 58 x 57 x 2 in. Detail.