Joan Snyder first gained public attention in the early 1970s with her gestural and elegant “stroke paintings”, which used the grid to deconstruct and retell the story of abstract painting. By the late 70s Snyder, abandoning the formality of the grid, began to more explicitly incorporate symbols and text, incorporating her strong belief in the idea of a female sensibility, as the paintings took on a more complex materiality. Often referred to as an autobiographical or confessional artist, her paintings are essentially narratives of both personal and communal experiences. Through a fiercely individual approach and persistent experimentation with technique and materials, Snyder has extended the expressive potential of abstract painting and inspired generations of emerging artists. Her early works were included in the 1973 and 1981 Whitney Biennials and the 1975 Corcoran Biennial.
Snyder is represented in numerous museum collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Jewish Museum, Guggenheim Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and The Phillips Collection. In 2021, the Tate Modern, London acquired her seminal work Dark Strokes Hope from the 1970s.
Recent solo exhibitions include The Summer Becomes a Room at Canada Gallery, New York City (2020) and Rosebuds & Rivers at Blain/Southern, London (2019). Significant recent group exhibitions include Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY (2018-ongoing); Art After Stonewall: 1969-1989, Leslie Lohman Museum of Art, NY, Columbus Museum of Art, OH, Patricia and Philip Frost Museum, FL (2019-20); Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age, curated by Achim Hochdörfer, David Joselit, Manuela Ammer, and Tonio Kröner, Brandhorst Museum, Munich and mumok, Vienna (2015-16).
Snyder currently lives and works in Brooklyn and Woodstock, NY.