'Souvenir' of the PastGAMBIER, Ohio (January 18, 2007) Associate Professor of Art Karen Snouffer will introduce her new exhibition, titled "Souvenir," at the Olin Art Gallery on Thursday, February 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Olin Auditorium. The event, which will be followed by a reception in the gallery, is free and open to the public. The exhibition will be open from January 18 through February 24.
In French, "souvenir" means "to remember"; in English, the word denotes a memento acquired to aid recollection. Both meanings apply to Snouffer's recent work, the result of her visits to the region of Épernay, France, one of the places her father was stationed as an MP serving under General George Patton during World War II. Snouffer's photo collages, such as "Déportés et Internés," evoke the echoes of a past that continues to haunt the present. Suffused with melancholy greens and golds, the image of a monument listing the names of those who were deported or imprisoned is juxtaposed with that of the trains that might have carried them away.
Snouffer traveled to Épernay, nestled in the Champagne country of Marne, to follow the path her father took across Europe sixty years ago. "I found that the people of the Épernay region were especially interested in my need, both as a daughter and as an artist, to discover more about my father's wartime experiences," Snouffer writes. During successive visits, she met members of the French Resistance and other survivors of the period, each of whom expanded her understanding.
"I now have a unique connection to Épernay and its people," Snouffer adds. "I have discovered not only his memories but also those of the Sparnaciens (residents of Épernay)… This past is one that is full of mystery, pain and joy, and I aim to offer these artistic impressions as glimpses into this era of tragedy, loss and victory."
Snouffer earned her BS in art education and fine arts, as well as an MFA in painting and drawing, from Ohio State University. She has been a member of the art department at Kenyon since 1998, following a stint as visiting assistant professor in 1989-90. Snouffer has had a dozen solo exhibitions, which will include "Souvenirs Retrouvés," or "Memories Regained," to be presented in Épernay in May 2007, and her work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions.