After his remarkably accomplished art-school work in the 1950s Snee went through a long period of experiment and discovery in the 1960s and early '70s, until in the 1980s and '90s he seemed to find his voice and settled into a prolific period of mature abstract painting.
It was not an entirely straight path: he never stopped exploring, taking detours away from his main route, trying out new ideas and techniques, dropping some of them, and incorporating others into his core practice. He worked continuously, often on batches of similar pictures at the same time. Other canvases took him many years to complete. Now and again he seemed to clear his mind by working on something completely new.
Gordon Snee's writings reveal that he shared the outlook of the early abstract expressionists, particularly admiring Kandinsky, Picasso, Klee, Malevich, Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus. He drew on cubism, vorticism, and constructivism.
Snee absorbed the work of his predecessors, and then spent many years experimenting, always with discipline, clarity and richness.
From the outset, Snee's work was dense in form and colour, with a vigorous intensity of movement. As he explored the methods of abstraction, his work grew more confident, more dynamic, until eventually he developed his own unique idiom: a language of abstraction based on natural forms.
We have called this Natural Abstraction.
Many of Snee's pictures are recognisable as abstract landscapes, with trees, fields and hedgerows; many more as head and shoulders portraits.
There are recurring motifs: columns that often morph into human figures, 'shell and skull' double-head portraits, homages to Picasso, portraits of Wyndham Lewis, railway pictures.
Once he had found his true voice, Snee enjoyed a long high summer of creativity: twenty years of pictures that positively radiate joy and vibrancy, and bear witness to an artist relishing his engagement with seeing.
Reporting his experience of seeing: this was Gordon Snee's obsession. Although his work is mostly abstract and non-figurative, Snee is a plain speaker, whose paintings are pitched at 'the ordinary viewer'. They are not offered as puzzles that can only be appreciated by those 'in the know' about art. His work is open, accessible.
Snee stayed absolutely loyal to what he saw, undistracted by his subject's meaning, its political context, or the thousand other undermining ironies and post-modern distractions of the late twentieth century. Gordon Snee withdrew from the professional art world, but he never withdrew from art. His self-imposed exile gave him peace and clarity to make his work.
We believe that Gordon Snee is a leading representative of a lost generation of British abstract painters.