MARK SNYDER

Artist

I am inquisitive by nature​, taking little at face value, and seek to understand the underlying workings of both objects and ideas. My research probes the interstitial spaces of the prototypical ideal of masculinity in the white American male. This track often involves the investigation of past markers of masculinity either in my own experience or societal precedents. In this way, my works are often infused with an inherent feeling of nostalgia mixed with analysis.

Having grown up a "car guy", I use this related field to frame much of the masculine identity. I find the automobile has often served as an extension of the male self, not only in the way in which we present ourselves to the world but also how we see the world from within that paradigm. The car becomes a prosthesis to the male self in aesthetics and vision. 

Examination and its coded visual language has always been a large part of my works, using drawings, grids, photographs and handwritten notes as signifiers of such investigations. This marking process also represents the historical crossovers between the languages of science and the masculine world I am investigating. Within these investigatory processes, the sciences and my own, no matter how egalitarian an analytic method tries to be, taxonomies are formulated thus instilling hierarchies that serve like caste systems to thought and manors. In my examination of the automotive world, I review objects like motors and cars while probing the semiotic world that surrounds them. My works look to scrutinize, deconstruct, reconstruct and re-contextualize the vernacular and ideals of the white American male.

I hand build much of my work, tools, machinery and devises, as the idea of physical labor is an intractable ingredient in the masculine mystique. Steel constructions, heavy equipment, intricate electrical and robotic systems, even scientific bio-art projects have become part of my process and the art works produced. The “men fix and build things” ideology is still heavily present in American society. My constructions and processes bridge the male hero realms of strength and wisdom personified in the works of writers like Hemingway and Nietzsche, while gaining insights into the formulation of male identity developed during father/son activities such pinewood derbies, camping and auto repair.

Though this line of artistic inquiry began many years ago I find it particularly relevant at a time when America seems to be struggling with its’ identity, lingering on the image of a country epitomized in the facade of a strong, hyper-masculine, white male. This work is not an admonishment of the male as icon, nor is it a defense, but an examination into its makeup and the illusions it fosters. The masculine ideal strongly permeates American culture and we are consciously or unconsciously exposed to it on a daily basis. Based on this common experience I find that most viewers are able to access and empathize with these works in ways that relate to their own way.

C.V.

 

Contact

 

Catalogues

© 2017 Mark Snyder

  • Instagram