This series of 22 works makes up About Face: The Journey to Female at 7 Arts Gallery, an art space that opened its doors on Lincoln Avenue in April 2017 thanks to a team of—get this—seven artists who wanted a collaborative studio with a public interface. The original seven (now five) split overhead costs in order for artists to keep 100 percent of their sales, though Snyder says she plans to donate 15 percent of her profits to local nonprofit Girls, Inc.
Not only is About Face the first show of the new year, but it is the first time these intimately personal works are exposed to the public eye. In this act of vulnerability, Snyder believes viewers will question how we define “gender” and “normal” because, she says, “The word normal has no meaning when it comes to people—there is no such thing as normal. It’s a term some people think defines the masses, but it doesn’t.”
Snyder layers her personal story into these mixed media paintings by collaging her used makeup pads and imagery from women’s style magazines of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. She describes how her transition to female began with the application of makeup every single day, which then led her to purge all of the male clothing in her closet to build a new wardrobe of women’s fashion. Her process mirrors this journey, revealing parallels between creating her art and her self. “There’s such a strong correlation between my actual painting of my face on a daily basis with makeup and what I’m painting on these surfaces,” she says.
In “So New to the City,” a painting from the series, a floating hairless face stares with blank eyes that have the faintest hint of an iris and pupil, but are overshadowed by a sea of sclera surrounded by pink and purple eyeliner. It is unclear if the subject is male or female, but that no longer seems to matter as the seemingly empty gaze commands attention and stares openly out at unknowns with trepidation and courage.
About Face blurs the line between male and female in androgynous images that leave viewers questioning not only who they are seeing, but also why we assign the labels that we do. “I’m looking forward to the day when the labels are gone,” Snyder tells SFR. “We’re all just people and it really doesn’t matter how we look.”
About Face: The Journey to Female
Through Jan. 31.
7 Arts Gallery,
125 Lincoln Ave., Ste.