Sunday, November 29, 2009


Works by Michael McAlister
November 23 - December 31, 2009

Opening Reception - Saturday December 5, 2009
7:00 PM @ The Andrews Gallery

Don't miss the chance to see these wild assemblages up close and personal, as well as meet the man behind them. Come share a glass of wine and a good time as we close out what has been an incredible 2009.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Artists x Artists

Opening Reception: December 13, 2009 1:00 - 4:00 PM

I'm excited about the Artists x Artists show coming up at the Encinitas Library. Mary Fleener has done an great job putting the show together. I was happy to get to preview most of the work in the show today. You'll be blown away by how diverse the work is.

I had the opportunity of painting Paul Williams, the legendary founder of Crawdaddy! magazine and a pioneer of rockn'roll criticism.

Paul Williams by Drew Snyder

The portrait is from a photo given to me by Paul's wife, Cindy Lee Berryhill. I'm told it was taken by R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, which is ironic because Stipe was the first portrait I did after moving to New York in 2004.

Michael Stipe by Drew Snyder, 2004 (Collection Studio Bellecour, Paris, FR.)

Anyway, Paul Williams has a serious case of dementia brought on by an accident in 1995. Cindy Lee has mounted a website in an effort to raise funds for his condition. I strongly encourage anyone and everyone to read the website and lend your support:

If and when the portrait of Paul sells, all of the proceeds will go to the fund for his care. If you are interested in acquiring it, please get in touch through the gallery website.

To learn more about the Artists x Artists show and see all the works check out the website Mary Fleener put together. Hope to see you at the show!

Matthew Ritchie Present at MCASD

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Matthew Ritchie spoke at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla last week. The talk was worth it (I love when talks are worth it). Ritchie had a refreshing sense of humor, almost making a joke out of the the very complex matters that were the subject of his talk. He'd whiz concepts and visuals past the audience without a hope of anyone actually grasping what was being talked about, giving them two or three seconds to soak in some graph the complexity of which would probably merit weeks to decipher. Above the comical effect that that had, I'd venture to say it was an intentional component of his lecture, as if Ritchie was making a round about claim that we are just not capable of understanding certain things. Those incomprehensible things became the very subject of his talk, as they are the objects of his art.

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His work does not, for the most part, jump out at me (other than when it literally jumps out into the space). I like the play back and forth between 2 and 3 D. Even though he called himself a painter, his most notable pieces are more routinely site specific installations that draw just as heavily from science as they do from anything else. The works are not gut works; they are the product of hours upon hours of heady deliberation, at times with Princeton physicists, at times experimental musicians, always with himself.

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Ritchie has a solid grasp on the historical context in which he works, and his talk traced a time line that dedicated as much time to Einstein as it did Duchamp. It was informative and even fun to here him go through historic details that most everyone in the room already knew. Somehow it did not feel redundant, and that newness of old things moreover validated his attempt to comment on history in a new way through his art. Tracing an historical time line was all too appropriate in his talk because time itself is a paramount theme throughout all of Ritchie's work, and he had some thoughtful things to say on the subject. My impression was that he was focused on the past as something of his intellectual inheritance and on the future as a potent yet contrived new frontier. Had I asked a question, it would have been about the present. On the one hand, without thinking about it, the present is the most familiar or "knowable" stage of time for us. It is not susceptible to memory defects, nor do we have to divine it. It makes a certain sense to say that we are constantly situated in the present. On the other hand, if we push the concept of the present, it is difficult to see how it exists at all, other than as a concept. No sooner do moments occur than do they pass us by, and pinpointing the occurrence of a moment is quickly seen as impossible because of the reliable movement of time. You say a word, breath a breath, think a thought, and immediately those functions become nothing but registers of the past, filed away in memory. In this way we face the past, and Ritchie was making claims about the predictability of the future. I would have asked Ritchie if he thinks the present is the most abstract stage of time, if he thinks it could be proven to exist other than theoretically, and what, if any, are the implications of this inquiry for his art practice.

Perhaps my favorite image off his website. I like the palette and what feels to me to be the more organic approach. Image from

For better or worse, I felt far more connected to his work after hearing him talk. I would not now be able to pass one of his pieces without taking a closer look. In front of his work, I would think back to his talk (I wonder if he would like that). And anyway, I am a sucker for fractals.

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[Oh lest I forget, I must admit that I am roundly jealous of his collaboration with one of my idols Kim Deal (and her sister Kelly) on an installation. He closed with a clip from this.]

Learn more about Matthew Ritchie at He has a show up at Chelsea's Andrea Rosen for another couple of days (until December 2), if you are in New York please go see it and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good Art All Over North County

This week's issue of CityBeat highlights a handful of solid North County art exhibits and events. First and foremost is the cover art by Michael McAlister, who just happens to be our upcoming featured artist. Sarah Nardi writes a thoughtful review that actually takes his art as its object (somewhat rare for San Diego arts writing). McAlister's show opens Monday November 23, and we will host an artist reception at the gallery on December 5, 2009. Read Nardi's piece here. Also you can preview McAlister's works on display at the gallery here.

CityBeat points out that "Along with the Andrews Gallery and Project X, the Eric Phleger Gallery is bringing much more than paintings of dolphins to the North County art scene." This Thursday there is an opening for a special exhibition at our neighboring gallery that exclusively features artists living in the 92024 and 92007 zip codes. An excellent idea. for more information.

Friday night will be another installation of the storied Art After Dark nights at the Oceanside Museum of Art (7:00 - 10:00 PM). Your $15 admissions ticket ($10 for members) will get you a palm reading and a buffet of sushi, pizza, and beer from local establishments along with live music, special installations, and OMA's current exhibition of UCSD graduate artists. for more information

Let the North County momentum continue.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I meet Duane Michals

Duane Michals

It was roughly six years ago that I acquired Album: The Portraits of Duane Michals from the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park, and since then the book has gone everywhere with me. Though it has been rained on in Paris, run over by a car in Yonkers (my ex-girlfriend driving), and sun-baked in San Diego, the thing is still intact, sitting on my desk as I write this post, and continues to be one of my favorite sources of material.

Drew Snyder, A Boy in Leningrad (after Duane Michals), 2005.
Oil on Canvas, 36 x 42 in.

Before last week, I actually thought Duane Michals was dead. I don't know why really, I just always thought he was dead. Perhaps it was because he looked old in his self-portraits, and those were from the 80's. So when I saw a listing by chance in CityBeat last week announcing that he was coming to the Neuroscience Institute in La Jolla to give a talk, I felt like I was seeing a ghost. Just the announcement in the paper gave me this feeling of seeing someone brought back from the dead. It was a strange feeling, as if I were experiencing some kind of split reality, some parallel universe (parenthetically I happened to glimpse a Lara Croft movie on TV this morning featuring Angelina traveling through time storms to alter reality). In retrospect the sensation that the listing gave me was all too appropriate given Michals' emphasis on the imagination, the unseen, on the make-believe that permeates our daily experience.

Duane Michals for Vogue

The man who introduced him, a professor at SDSU (I don't remember his name), made the point that photography came to be during the Victorian Age, a time when science was focused on things we do not readily visually intuit (ocean currents, atoms, subterranean geological surveys, blood systems, etc). It was a nice parallel insofar as photography, contrary to initial perceptions, is a similar science. Initially, photography was conceived as an earnest and truthful means of capturing reality, escaping the obvious distortions of more traditional artistic mediums. Now, as the man making the introduction pointed out, after sufficient critical contention on this point, serious questions about the "truth" of photography have redefined the medium. Indeed, even without taking into account the volition of the artist to, say, frame a scenario in a certain way or manipulate the light, a photo at its core cannot escape its nature as an image, as a representation of something. There is no representation that is not false representation. If something is of something it is necessarily not that thing. In this way does Michals' preoccupation with the imagination and the unseen as an object of his photography certifies his authenticity as an artist.

Duane Michals

Michals himself was hysterical. I would go see him at a comedy club just as soon as I would at the Neuroscience Institute. A wonderful 77 year old gay man who lives between New York and the country-side upstate with his partner Fred (of 50 years), he was sharp, crude, witty, and non-stop, even asking at one point, "Do I get paid by the word?". He spoke candidly about sex, religion, fantasy, the imagination, and death, which was a relief from the very intelligent but very dry introduction delivered by the SDSU professor. He was a bit contradictory, but somehow even his contradictions were consistent with the humanism of his overall talk, which in turn re-doubled his authenticity. He assured the audience that, on the cosmic time-line, our lives are nothing but a "fart" (accompanied by the appropriate sound effect). A favorite moment of mine came during the Q&A afterward when a young woman asked, cleverly, if he kept any pictures in his wallet, to which he replied with a momentarily stoic expression, "No, just condoms and viagra".

Me sheepishly getting Duane Michals to autograph my treasured book of his portraits. The inscription says, "Hello Drew, How do yo do?" [sic]. After he signed my book, our conversation turned to his upcoming talk and implored me to "applaud, no matter what."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jerm Wright - 11/13 @ DEMA

Upcoming on Friday the 13th, local artist Jerm Wright will be defying superstitions and opening a new show at DEMA in Encinitas. Not only is his work strong on many levels, but his devotion to fostering the arts in San Diego through SDA, ArtWars and other projects makes him an invaluable asset to our community. I have been looking for the pictures of his live art mural at The Andrews Gallery, when I find them I'll put them up on this post. That was a memorable night. Plus I still have the mural, if anyone has any suggestions of what we should do with it, I'm all ears.

We wish him all the best. Go see his show.

UPDATE 11/13:

Found! Pictures of Jerm working his magic at the gallery to the live music of The In-Motion Trio, courtesy of Ms. Amanda Walker.