"I first encountered the work of Will Horwitt in the home of a
collector. The work in question was placed high on a wall and shared
company with, among other things, a Judd print. It was a black ink line
drawing executed with a brush, composed of overlapping rounded off
square shapes, one set upon another, minimal and pure. This drawing,
more than any other of the many works in the entire room, captured my
attention. At that same time, I also came to discover his bronze and
wood sculptures which were equally compelling. What happened to this
voice, I wondered, why had I not heard of Horwitt?
When I was able to see more of these drawings, my appreciation of
the work grew. I discovered a zen-ike concentration in the controlled
but exploratory quality of the line in his drawings, which ranged from
vulnerable ragged tangles, to mono-lithic textural masses incised or
defined by thick ribbons of ink. Other drawings seemed to map out
pathways over propositional forms, some suggesting folds, others rings
of sculptural line. In some, one senses the figure, in others, a
random displacement of rocks on a forest floor. The drawings on display
in this show set a quiet mood and evoke a feeling of purity and piety,
not that of the sublime, but that found in the everyday.
Horwitt’s output related to many currents flowing around him at
that time in New York City: which are mentioned below. It was clear
from the start that this was work of merit; it needed to be seen. When I
first contemplated opening and running a gallery from my building in
Bushwick, the first show I wanted to do was Will’s. This, his mature and
deeply felt work, had never risen fully to it’s proper place. I hope
to right this fact in some small way with our exhibition of Will’s
drawing from the 60’s."
Owner/Director Schema Projects
Schema Projects is privileged to present, Will Horwitt, Drawings from the 60’s.
Horwitt wrote in his sketchbook in 1977- “to be, not to be seen”.
Blending modernism and primitivism, his work yields nothing short of
poetry. Over the course of Will’s too-brief career, drawing played an
integral part in his studio practice. His work in sculpture plaster to
bronze casting, massive wood pieces, aluminum, stone and finally steel,
is strongly reflected in the multitude of drawings he made during his
lifetime. Though he worked in a simplified abstract mode reminiscent of
Brancusi, Arp and the Asian influence of Noguchi, he continued to do
self-portraits throughout his career.
The drawing mediums varied,
sometimes india ink, wash and brush, others in pencil and pastel, a
strong black on white component dominates although on occasion he
integrated color. His late sculptures integrate with incised lines in
wood, much of the feeling of his drawings. He said, “Sculpture isn’t
about the object, it’s about the space around it.” He might also have
added “inside it” as the last steel pieces mediate between interior and
exterior space. His sculptural works are drawings in metal and wood.
Horwitt was born in New York City in 1934 and grew up in Stockbridge,
MA. He spent his adolescence in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In 1965 he
received the Guggenheim Fellowship for creative sculpture. Three years
later he was awarded the Tiffany Purchase Grant. Will Horwitt was living
and working in Tribeca when he died of lymphoma at Mount Sinai Hospital
in New York City at the age of 51.
John Canaday wrote, “Mr.
Horwitt is a most gratifying workman. The simplified, subtly warped
forms in expressive balances are consistently mindful of Brancusi, but
that is a good point of departure. Mr. Horwitt comes through as one of
the strongest young sculptors around.” (NY Times, 1965)
is included in the collections of Yale University Art Gallery, Boston
Museum of Fine Arts, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Herbert F. Johnson
Museum of Cornell University, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden the
Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Solomon R
Guggenheim Museum NYC, the Wadworth Atheneum, Hartford CT, and the
private collections of Nelson A Rockefeller, Vera and Albert List, Helen
and RobertBenjamin among others.
Will Horwitt was represented in his lifetime by Lee Ault & Company and then Vanderwoude & Tananbaum Gallery.