Sylvia Snowden: The M Street Series

The M Street Series is the solo exhibition by Washington, D.C.-based artist Sylvia Snowden, which is an overview of this iconic work from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s.

This exhibition focuses on the images of people she met in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. In the mid-1970s, in the midst of continued gentrification and displacement, Snowden felt the urgency of the lives of the people she met nearby, many of whom were temporary workers, unemployed and/or homeless— She echoed her thoughts on their energy at work. With each piece the artist responds to the influence and personality of each person she chooses to paint, paying homage to their presence. At the same time, the drama of the thematic struggles, and the sheer grace of their ability to survive and thrive, reference the power of refined beauty in the human image that her art celebrates.

From deep earthy tones to vibrant faux shades, the artist's mastery of the color spectrum fuels her expressionist style. The artist's sprawling body, often antagonistic, is surrounded by shifting chromatic peaks, a sense of physical expression; she depicts the tension and tension of life, as well as the troubled, optimistic and dramatic elements of our sublime existence. She encapsulates the psychological nature of her subjects, some of whom she is only passing by and others with whom she has had an intimate or long-term relationship. Their triumphs, paranoia, pain and anger are all exposed; these works convey an emotionally turbulent environment. Her paintings reference the immediate lives of these people and serve as interpretations of the psychology of each subject.

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