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Liminal Space

an exhibition of new works by Paul Snell


‘Liminal Space guides us into Snell’s playful yet perplexing space of assembled knowledge, situation and circumstance that moves and flows in a dynamic momentum. His works are penetrating and active punctums that compel us to explore the in-betweens of being and becoming within liminality.

Liminal Space creates a situation in which we can question and unsettle our existing perceptions and ways of knowing. Rather than experiencing an easily shared idea or commonly held belief, Snell’s work acknowledges that meaning making can be disturbing, unexpected, and even hesitant. In entering into Snell’s Liminal Space, we can take some time to play in the void of vulnerability and uncertainty, where understanding can be interrogated and ruptured, allowing us to then, if we choose to do so, linger in an intensely affective personal experience.

In the warming tingle that can follow a cold, sharp slap in the face, Liminal Space calls us to attention to contemplate potentialities and interrelationships inherent to events and experiences, where, within Snell’s large scale works, we are invited into a space where becoming holds primacy over being.’

Dr Abbey MacDonald



The Liminal Space – Artist Statement

What happens if you lose what appears to be your “everything” and you do not know what to do next?  If you feel that you are anxiously floating in the in-between perhaps you are in The Liminal Space.

The Liminal Space lies between the known and the unknown – it is a transitional space of heightened intensity that we experience when we cross the threshold of what is known. It is a space of transformation between phases of separation and reincorporation. It represents a period of ambiguity, of marginal and transitional state.

It is the space between the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents and his becoming Batman in order to protect others. Liminal space is Luke Skywalker’s apprenticeship in the swamps of Dagobah or Frodo’s long, slow journey to Mordor.

As an artist, I am always seeking the point of entry to liminal space, which, for me, is the marker of creative engagement. I start with an idea, I do research and entertain many possibilities, then I withdraw into that “space between” to let everything cook and stew while I seek to become quiet and receptive and balanced.  I stand on the threshold, poised but not ready to commit.  Stepping through the threshold, moving from possibility to a chosen act or decision, always seems the most difficult part – actually stepping through and being willing to choose “this” but not “that” becomes an act of creative courage. Of course, that is only the first step; it is actually a series of decisions, reflections, and more decisions, an ongoing process of stepping into a threshold, a liminal space, then continuing on through the process, over and over again.

The space between here and there is often a place of confusion, restlessness, doubt; perhaps even fear. We live most of our lives in this place of uncertainty. We know where we have been and where we are now; we do not know where we will be tomorrow or exactly how we are going to get there. There is a tendency in this uncertain place to rush too quickly into whatever is coming next. We want to make decisions, to be proactive; we have been taught to just do something. There is a sense of urgency in everything we do. Liminal places teach us to let go, relax, and be changed.

In this exhibition I am inviting the viewer into my Liminal Space; to let go of the familiar, hold the tension of being in a place of uncertainty, stay still, remain open, wait and trust. The aim is to immerse the viewer in colour, rhythm and space, creating a sensory experience of inner contemplation and transcendence.

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Liminal Space

Queen Victoria Art Gallery
2 Wellington Street, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

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