Paul Snell is an abstract artist who combines traditional and digital techniques to explore the possibilities of abstraction and minimalism in contemporary photo-media. He lives and works in Launceston, Tasmania.
Snell earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at University of Tasmania in 1989, his BFA (Honours) from University of Tasmania in 1995, and his Masters of Contemporary Arts from the University of Tasmania in 2011.
The visual lexicon Snell has developed is informed by the Modernist history of painting, especially minimalism and hard-edged abstraction. Snell has described his artistic practice as a search for “sensory understanding of the physical object.” His images are abstract, yet also declare a certain concrete recognition of their own material substance. Snell intends to create visually arresting works that allow viewers to enter into a contemplative, or even transcendent state. He achieves this through the deployment of rhythmic, harmonious visual structures such as concentric circular or linear patterns. Colour relationships and spatial realities are also of primary importance to Snell. The iconic presence of his works is due in part to the dynamism of the colour relationships, in part to the architectonic-yet-open nature of his compositions, and in part to the vibrant, luminous qualities of the surfaces.
Describing his work Snell has said, “These pieces are not representations of certain realities; they are their own reality. The absence of signs or objects invites the viewer to drift among primal and tonal aesthetic matter. The aim has been to immerse the viewer in colour, rhythm and space, creating a sensory experience of inner contemplation and transcendence.”
Snell has exhibited his work extensively throughout Australia and Tasmania, and selectively in the United States and Europe. His work is held in private and public collections nationally including Art Bank, TMAG and the Justin House Museum. Snell has been a finalist in many National Prizes including The Blake Prize (2018), The Geelong Print Prize (2011), and The Sunshine Coast Art Prize (2013). In 2012 he won the nationally recognised Tidal Art Prize and in 2015 he won the Whyalla Art Prize and Morton Bay Art Award.