Q + A: Ann Snell


How would you describe yourself as an artist?

I would describe my art as very emotive and expressive. I would say I paint like a sculptor, finding form in light and dark editing. I paint in a very direct, intuitive and gestural style, in an effort to convey an emotion or atmosphere based on the subject or theme I am navigating. I have found that my paintings are much more successful when I work on a large scale, as I like to use my whole body when I work – it’s like a dance.

What initially compelled you to start practicing?

I first fell in love with art as a safe place to hash out my feelings as a young person. I further developed an understanding of art as a ‘language’ that speaks to all people, just as music does. This was very important to me as I felt I could never write well enough or speak fast enough for the thoughts and emotions I was experiencing.

How does each work begin?

I sketch out an idea and make sure the theme and image are both meaningful enough for me to invest in. I then paint directly onto canvas. I move between painting and sculpture and explore the same themes with both, as I find one discipline triggers and informs the other. From a curatorial perspective, exhibiting both mediums can be very effective for the viewers’ engagement.

What are you working on at the moment?

Since 2016 I have been developing a body of work called Herstory: Our shared humanity from a female perspective. The term “Herstory” was adopted when I understood that my female perspective is at the core of my art and I have established intimate relationships as a woman and a mother. Further to this, I am conscious of the inequity of the female voice and visual legacy in our art history.

What is the message you hope to convey with your art?

My practice contributes further to the female perspective in Australian art. The portraiture is concerned with portraying the subject’s human condition or emotional state, and continuing conversations shared with my diverse subjects in a form that is inclusive and memorable.

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