Local Artist Returns to Her Roots

Monday, November 3rd, 2014 at 4:51 PM
Local Artist Returns to Her Roots by Cory Vaillancourt

About the only knock on the visual arts community in Erie is that there’s not a lot of new blood. Older artists who’ve been around for a half-century are still producing excellent pieces, and a whole generation of younger artists in town are doing some truly transformational things, but let’s face it – it’s the same couple-dozen people at every show, fair, and opening in town.

That’s why it’s refreshing to welcome fine artist Maribrigit Snyder back to the scene. You may remember her as Mary B. Williams before she left Erie for a 14-year hiatus in Hawaii, of all places. But she’s back, she’s brought with her a 40-year history of exhibiting and selling her drawings, paintings, and prints, and she’s eager to reacquaint Erie with her work.

“Drawings and Paintings by Maribrigit Snyder” opens Friday at PACA; I caught up with Maribrigit recently to learn more about her and her work.

Cory Vaillancourt: Why make art?

Maribrigit Snyder: I want to express myself to others by capturing the imagery in a scene, a moment, a person, or figures that I have enjoyed seeing, and then interpreting the subject with my own interpretations of mood, colors and line.

CV: How do you choose your subjects?

MS: I choose my subject from things or people I see. I am intrigued by images of people placed in various earthly settings or situations; I also am drawn to natural real life objects or scenes. My work is representational but does not reflect realism necessarily – I do not work from photos for my watercolor paintings or drawings, as I feel working from real life setups gives a fullness and a freshness that my photos have not been able to do.

CV: What do you want people to take away from your art?

MS: My personal experiences – the way I see something as beautiful, interesting or puzzling. Through my art, and using the figure a lot to present situation, I hope people will see the quality of relationships with each other or relationships with their surroundings as integral to coming to terms with themselves.

CV: Were most of the pieces in your upcoming PACA show created in Hawaii?

MS: The small acrylics were painted over the last 6 months [here in Erie], but the majority of the work – especially the watercolors – was created on the island of Oahu.

CV: And how has being back in Erie changed your work?

MS: Erie has set me free to pursue some new directions – I started laying my drawn cutouts on top of acrylic scenes, incorporating them in a kind of paper collage technique; I am starting to cut out all my drawn figures and challenge myself to position them in a kind of cartoony abstract way; I am moving way out of realism and using the figure differently; I am using more and more reactionary colors like Fauvists or Gauguin; I am naming some of them things women say a lot - one is called "I Think I Am Losing My Head," and another is called "She Never Says What She Really Means." Erie has given me economic security, and brought me closer to family and old friends. Now that I am able to retire from full-time teaching and am not the sole provider for two boys, I am not so dependent on what I sell, and not so concerned about what things cost. In Erie, I am having fun creating for me.


Drawings and Paintings by Maribrigit Snyder opens this Friday, Nov. 7, at 7:00 p.m. and runs through Nov. 22 at PACA, 1505 State St., in Erie. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.PACA1505.com or check out the Facebook event.


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