From far away, Anthony Sneed’s unique brand of Minimalism instantly calls to mind the reductive elegance of Dan Flavin–or the boisterous, hypercolor modernism of Sol Lewitt’s recent work. However, on closer inspection, Sneed’s seeming hard edged “paintings” reveal themselves to be three-dimensional scultpural works; Modern tromp l’oeils of sorts. Sneed’s work amalgamates the conceptual framework of the Minimalist tradition with Op Art’s investigation of the relationship between illusion and picture plane, movement and depth, reality and perception. In this sense, Sneed’s work calls to mind Tony Smith’s geometrical modules, in his capacity to create drama through simplicity, scale, and revealing what is not there.
Yet Sneed also approaches these art historical traditions with a fresh perspective that is unique to the Millenial Generation- those who grew up in the 80’s playing Atari for hours in the basement and subsisting on a diet of sugary cereals.
Says Sneed, “I never went to art school so it’s as if I’m just exploring in the dark all of these basic principles and coming up with my own solutions as I go. It’s quite fantastic to throw out everything and just arrive at something so simple and basic, yet make something relatively new from that.”
Sneed’s works reference the contemporary visual & musical subcultures of the information overload era, the Web 1.0 visual tropes such as pixelation or the stripped down 8-bit music movement. His paintings owe as much to Modernism as they do the digital glow of Television test patterns, the 2/D 3/D land of early video games.
“We relate to it the same way the comic book generations related to people like Roy Lichtenstein,” says Sneed. “It’s information and cultural overload and there’s no turning back so embrace it now or get left behind.”