Japanese artist’s wall-sized charcoals inspire introspection

Artist Uran Snyder will exhibit her works of large-scale charcoal drawings at Brandstater Gallery Jan. 11 – Feb. 2.
Artist Uran Snyder will exhibit her works of large-scale charcoal drawings at Brandstater Gallery Jan. 11 – Feb. 2. As a peace advocate, she will also donate a peace pole to La Sierra University.

Jan. 11, 2010
By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) Graceful, curving strokes of charcoal line cover large swaths of paper, melding together human forms and faces. They all seem to reach and strive, to long for something. That ‘something’ is peace, according to Uran Snyder, the Long Beach artist who created the massive drawings.

She will exhibit her work, titled “Yearning,” at La Sierra University’s Brandstater Gallery Jan. 11 through Feb. 2. The gallery will host a reception for Snyder from 6 – 8 p.m., Mon., Jan. 11. Gallery hours are Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sun., 2 – 5 p.m.

“ ‘Yearning’ came from the inner [desire] for peace, for a peaceful existence,” the artist said. “The whole thing is about the human condition.”

“Yearning” consists of three huge charcoal drawings that cover most of the wall space in the gallery. One work is 33 feet long and nine feet high. Another is about 22 feet long by nine feet high and the third is 156 inches long by eight feet high. The drawings were created in large sections. Snyder, with the help of a friend, several La Sierra art majors and adjunct art history professor Peter White, used ladders and heavy push pins on Jan. 6 to carefully place the long paper rolls of drawings on the white gallery walls.

Snyder was born in Tokyo, Japan and arrived in the United States in 1969. She earned bachelor and master degrees in fine art from California State University, Long Beach and attended the University of Madrid in Spain and the University of Grenoble in France. From her Long Beach studio, Snyder paints, draws and creates site-specific installations. She has exhibited at Long Beach City College, Golden West College, Cal State Long Beach, Los Angeles galleries, and The Loft gallery in San Pedro.

Snyder came to La Sierra through gallery director and art department Chair Beatriz Mejia-Krumbein. They met through mutual friend and Long Beach art museum curator Jean Clad who worked with La Sierra’s art department in organizing the “Book as Sculpture” show last December.

“As soon as I saw her portfolio I was drawn by her work,” Mejia-Krumbein said. “I could envision the renovated gallery space wrapped in her big rolls of paper with her monumental charcoal drawings, which reveal her exploration of the unadorned body enlightening the sense of yearning.”

“The differences of class, which are daily marked through the cloth used to cover our body, and [through] skin color, are erased through the use of charcoal confronting us with the fundamental nature of the body,” Krumbein continued. “These images make us vulnerable and invite us to meditate and connect to the essence of our existence. The scale of her work is an important element to achieve the viewers’ responses since her images are larger than life size.”

The exhibition “Yearning” is an introduction to La Sierra University’s Peace Week activities which will take place Jan. 25 – Jan. 30. Snyder, who is a Southern California representative for the New York-based World Peace Prayer Society, will donate and plant a peace pole during her show’s opening reception Jan. 11. The four-sided pole, made in Japan, is inscribed in English, Spanish, Japanese and German with the prayer, “May peace prevail on Earth.”

Snyder has been involved in peace work for more than 30 years. She joined the prayer society initially because of her mother’s involvement. The society, which originated in Japan, has planted, or installed, more than 200,000 peace poles and conducted peace ceremonies around the world. The ceremonies involve displaying national flags and holding prayers for countries, or states, or perhaps Native American tribes, depending on the type of ceremony. The society’s goal is to influence peace throughout the world by encouraging individuals to include the plea, “may peace prevail on Earth” in their prayers.

Snyder’s exhibit is also a prelude to a new workshop in figure drawing the art department will offer during the spring quarter. “The students will learn from her work and her application to the figure. They will get motivated and inspired to explore, expand their creativity, and break boundaries as they take this class next quarter,” Krumbein said.


PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University
Riverside, California
951.785.2460 (voice)

  • Last update on  January 18, 2010