wood with paint
274.3 x 335.3 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 15921)
Commenting wryly on the diversity of his artistic output, the storied Canadian artist Michael Snow once suggested, “my paintings are done by a filmmaker, my sculpture by a musician, my films by a painter, my music by a filmmaker, my paintings by a sculptor… who sometimes all work together.” An early example of Snow blurring the lines between painting and sculpture, Shunt assembles found wood pieces painted a deep green and is part of a phase of abstract “pure colour-surface things” created by the artist between 1959 and 1961. Shunt is also, according to the artist, a “director of attention,” in that the artwork suggests a “path for the spectator’s eye.” In this case one can choose to view the work as a painting, eyes moving from the wall to the floor; or, alternatively, one’s glance may be cast upward, a logical movement when looking at a sculpture.