Curator’s Statement by Maxim Schmidt
Tony Saunder’s work speaks to the art of perception; how do we attach meaning to what is abstracted? With Saunders work, we have to ask, “What will this be? What will I make it be?” He explores a realm in which "meaning is suggested but never explicit,” offering the viewer loose yet suggestive forms to construct into figures, landscapes, even entire realities of their own.
Tony Saunders has his painting and music studio in Brooklyn, NY. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Collage has long been the focus and method in his work, both visual and musical, which explores the ways in which we construct meaning and narrative in our daily lives. In 2005, he began to do creative arts engagement with elders living with memory loss, which led to his present career as a care manager and arts advocate. In both his own work, and that which he does with elders, the importance of “play” and living in the present moment are paramount.
Painting presents a visual stimulus from which the viewer tries to “make sense,” looking for significance in patterns and trying to find a story even in the most abstract, or seemingly random, elements. My work is in the tradition of landscape painting, Japanese woodblock prints, 20-century abstraction, and street art, and aims to elicit the viewer’s tendency to derive narrative from painterly elements. Meaning is suggested but never explicit: the story takes place inside the viewer’s imagination, constructed when the materials at hand trigger the creative act of memory.