Composed of an assortment of unconventional materials, Heart On is a voluptuous, highly tactile painting that Snyder made at the height of her participation in the feminist movement. Sections of the canvas were cut open and, in some cases, sewn back together to resemble wounds and sutures. Created during a period of "anger and pain," the work also chronicles the artist’s "sexual awakening," as she grappled with her growing desire for women—a subject suggested by the work’s playful, provocative title. Heart On exemplifies the personal and sexual politics of Snyder’s practice while also reflecting her commitment to an aesthetic of partiality and incompletion that exposes the painting’s anatomy to view.
Inscription: Dated and inscribed (verso): Heart on 1975
[Carl Solway Gallery, New York, by 1976–at least 1978]; private collection, Cincinnati; Mr. and Mrs. Donald Rugoff, New York (by 1980–81; their gift to MMA)
New York. Carl Solway Gallery. "Joan Snyder: New York 1974–75," February 6–March 13, 1976, no catalogue.
Neuberger Museum, State University of New York, College at Purchase. "Joan Snyder: Seven Years of Work," January 17–March 4, 1978, unnumbered cat. (fig. 23; lent by Carl Solway Gallery, N.Y.C.).
Southampton, N. Y. Parrish Art Museum. "Joan Snyder, Painter: 1969 to Now," July 10–August 21, 1994, not in catalogue.
Jewish Museum, New York. "Joan Snyder," August 12–October 23, 2005, unnumbered cat. (p. 66).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible," March 18–September 4, 2016.
Sally Webster. "Joan Snyder, Fury and Fugue: Politics of the Inside." Feminist Art Journal 5 (Summer 1976), pp. 7–8, ill., calls it "Heart–On"; describes this painting as a "summary of both her [the artist's] technical and feminist involvements".
Hayden Herrera. Joan Snyder. Exh. cat., Jewish Museum, New York. New York, 2005, p. 43.
Jenni Sorkin in Hayden Herrera. Joan Snyder. Exh. cat., Jewish Museum, New York. New York, 2005, pp. 66–67, 72, ill. (color).