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Portrait of Ted Snell

He championed local artists across his many leadership roles; including those at John Curtin Gallery at Curtin University as Professor of Contemporary Art and Dean of Art, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at the University of Western Australia as Director and Chief Cultural Officer, and finally at Edith Cowan University where he became an Honorary Professor, School of Arts and Humanities in 2021.

Ted was active in the Fremantle based collective PRAXIS, which ran a series of ground-breaking exhibitions, events and gatherings — and together with Julian Goddard spawned the important PRAXIS/M magazine that ran for several years covering the arts in Perth and beyond. Importantly, he was behind the movement that transformed PRAXIS into the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) in 1989 in the Old Perth Boys School in Perth, that remains Perth’s home for contemporary art. 

Ted was also a prolific writer, publishing a constant stream of reviews and research articles on the arts. He also published several books, including monographs on Pippin Drysdale, Howard Taylor, Arthur Russell, Stan Hopewell, Ross Seaton, Philippa Nikulinsky and Salvatore Zofrea.

As a curator he was responsible for many outstanding exhibitions and he delighted in discovering ‘new’ artists, including Ross Seaton: The Master of Nedlands in December 2021 that focussed on Nedlands famous ‘walking man’, along with the very popular HERE&NOW exhibitions that showcased innovative art from Western Australia, with the added twist of being curated by a local emerging curator, from 2012 onwards.

His understanding of visual arts was deep, and informed by his own practice, exhibiting since 1968 across Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane, along with his long term marriage to fellow artist Mary Moore.

Deepest condolences to Mary and the Snell family.

Page reviewed 27 February 2023