Matthew Snow is very interested in Native American mythology and the Native American's relationship to animals and the environment. The ancient Native Americans were always seeking to improve their relationship with Mother Earth and the Great Mystery - to live in greater harmony with the world around them. All creatures were to be honored - all had life lessons to impart to anyone astute enough to observe and understand. The characteristics assigned to each animal are very different from our modern ideas, which are often cute, simplistic and demeaning, and provide the modern seeker with a journey to places they may not have experienced before.
The Eagle represents the realm of Spirit. It "represents a state of grace achieved through hard work, understanding and a completion of the tests of initiation which result in the taking of one's personal power." In this painting the eagle is depicted from three different angles - in profile, in three quarters view and than a close up of the head and beck. It is seen soaring through an atmosphere of letters and numbers. Cell phones, computers, all our latest devices make use of radio waves. We move through a sea of invisible words, chatter, information that exists all around us yet we are unable to experience them with any of our five senses without the electronic device that renders them tangible. But because we cannot see them or feel them without electronic assistance does not mean they do not exist. There is a lesson there. The painting is an attempt to bring together the ancient and the new, to better understand the world we have created for ourselves and to remind us that long before our modern world there already was an organized belief system in place that help focus and shed light on the human experience.
The Bat represents rebirth. In this painting the image of the bat pulsates with certain tenderness, and suggests something fragile and vulnerable that is about to be unfurled - like a butterfly about to break out of its chrysalis. The stenciled letters also suggest the possibilities of what is to come. It should be commented on here, that while in the 1950’s, Larry Rivers and Jasper Johns had already pioneered the concept of stenciled letters, in their treatment it was an innovation and novelty - a groundbreaking gesture deliberately meant to shock and to violate the highly formalized structure of classical painting. Here the idea is invested with a different purpose. Not for novelty but rather to draw awareness to the idea that though something might be invisible, it nevertheless still does exist and impacts on our lives.