ARTISTS | 18+ of Michael Snow’s Walking Women (1961-67)

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What can I say? I’ve been smitten with Michael Snow ever since his Walking Women found a place to stand in Macy DuBois’s fantastic Ontario pavilion at Montréal’s equally marvelous expo 67.

The way his Walking Women series encapsulates a woman of a certain era in a variety of guises intrigues me.

Michael Snow, hero.




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New York Eye and Ear Control, 1964 b/w, sound/noir et blanc, son, 34 min © 1999 Canada Council for the Arts

In 1964, Snow created the film New York Eye and Ear Control which featured “the walking woman”—a cutout two-dimensional silhouette of a woman that was a recurrent image in his work at the time—in various locations in New York. For the film’s soundtrack, Michael recruited an all-star line up of musicians: Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, John Tchicai, Roswell Rudd, Gary Peacock, and Sunny Murray. This collaboration was significant for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Snow asked the musicians to create music that was entirely improvised without reference to any pre-composed melody or “head” as had been their custom up to that time.

Critical Studies in Improvisation


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Quatre panneaux gris et quatre figures, série « Walking Woman » Musée des Beaux-arts de Montréal

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Biographie of the walking woman = de la femme qui marche : 1961-1967 (2004)

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“Snow, walking woman” by PinkMouse, Flickr


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Little Walk (1964) Using his iconic Walking Woman motif (which he would use throughout the 1960s in paintings, sculptures and installations), this was one of two short, experimental films Snow made in 1964

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Noon and Skirt, from the Walking Woman Series, 1964, Winnipeg Art Gallery

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Drawing on newsprint (Village Voice) with printed Walking Woman silhouette. February 4, 1965. 1965. Charcoal and gouache on newspaper, 42.6 x 29.2 cm, Museum of Modern Art. © 2008 Michael Snow

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Test Focus Field Figures, 1965, spray enamels on canvas, 154.2 cm x 200.2 cm

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Shadow shadow, 1963, painted wood, 66.6 x 50.2 x 81.3 cm


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At the Ontario pavilion, expo 67, Montréal:


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Venus Simultaneous, oil on canvas on wood, Art Gallery of Ontario

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Rolled Woman II, 1961, oil on paper, board and wood, cardboard tube/huile sur papier 72.5 x 48.8 x 6.2 cm, Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University

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Expo Walking Woman, 1966, stainless steel, ten separate sculptures, variable arrangements 230.5 x 91.5 cm, Art Gallery  of Ontario

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Expo Walking Woman, 1967, wood, stainless steel 230.5 x 91.5 cm, Art Gallery of Ontario

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Mixed Feelings, 1965, acrylic on canvas, 253.5   x 150.5 cm, Vancouver Art Gallery

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Cala Bley, 1965, offset lithography, rubber stamp, 66 x 51 cm, Art Gallery of Ontario

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Walking Woman Silhouette Pin, right facing, Art Gallery of Ontario Gift Shop

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Walking Woman Silhouette Pin, left facing, Art Gallery of Ontario Gift Shop


Michael Snow in New York, 1964, and Toronto, 2010

IMAGE CREDITS > Click on photo

National Gallery of Canada CyberMuse | The genesis of the Walking Woman – Biography of the Walking Woman PDF

National Gallery of Canada CyberMuse | Meet the Artist > Michael Snow

Critical Studies in Improvisation | Michael Snow and Jesse Stewart in Conversation, Toronto, 12 November 2005

tiff | Canadian Film Encyclopedia > Michael Snow

Le Fresnoy | Solo Snow PDF

The Walrus | Riffing: Jazz inspired Michael Snow, the most influential Canadian artist of all time, to explore the unexplored




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