“Liminal Borders: New Works by Clinton Snider” on Display in Baber Room Gallery

Detroit painter illuminates the interior boundaries of city and forest

| Author: Denise Fanning

©Clinton Snider,

Thresholds and borders are spaces both fraught and charged with potential. This is true in the case of “Liminal Borders,” the aptly-titled exhibit of new paintings by Clinton Snider on display in the Baber Room Gallery from April 4-May 25. A painter long central to metro Detroit’s vibrant arts community, Snider’s gorgeous, haunting paintings capture the luminous hum of moments where past and future, nature and industry, merge. As Snider mentions, these works give one “the sensation of being first on the scene to witness a subtle drama about to unfold, or, perhaps, the last to arrive just after something occurred.” The drama is in the light: Snider’s palette evokes liminal temporality—a somehow both melancholic and hopeful wash of autumnal shades and long shadows gives the feeling of late day, of darkness woven with light. As viewers, we confront what landscape painting even is, or should be, in a time when discarded tires, shopping carts and shipping canisters flow downstream with leaves, where broken cement blocks rest amidst flowing grasses and flowers, and where vines and roots wind through windowless, long-abandoned structures. Snider’s masterful skill with color and depth are on full-display here, in work that guides our eyes, but also invites us to look closer, to notice a pink-fringed sky ablaze in a mirrored stream, a cloud embraced in the oxbow of a river. In a world so broken, so polluted with noise and detritus, we daily ask: is beauty even still possible? If you cross the threshold into the Baber Room Gallery and bask in the paintings of Clinton Snider, trust me, you’ll know the answer. 

CMU Libraries will host an artist talk and reception with Clinton Snider on April 13th at 7pm in the Baber Room Gallery. The event is free and open to all.

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