Critics’ Picks

Pink to Burgundy Circle Variance No. 5, 2007, paint on paper, 22 x 22".

Los Angeles

Channa Horwitz

P.O. Box 31463
March 24–April 21

Channa Horwitz’s elegant drawings and paintings derive their design from a simple mathematical language, and the minute variations of their predetermined patterns play out in this exhibition across multiple series. Informed by a Conceptual imperative, Horwitz’s oeuvre falls somewhere between Minimalism and Op art, though it avoids easy placement in either. Repeating an array of eight colors and angles, the work presented here possesses the subtle, hypnotic quality found in Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings, though Horwitz art is tempered by a quality not found in his ruler-derived compositions: The grids, at first glance seemingly automated, reveal on closer inspection imperfections that bring a necessary human element to the work. Like Mary Heilmann and Agnes Martin, Horwitz infuses cool geometric abstraction with an unexpected warmth and humanity, so subtle as to be almost missed.

The paintings in “Variances” are crafted from strict limitations, an Oulipian gesture that paradoxically frees the work. Horwitz extensively deploys moiré patterns, highlighting the interference created when two or more grids are set at angles to one another. Intersecting lines forming circles and squares create seemingly infinite permutations. In a series titled “From Pink to Burgundy Circle Variation,” color grids intersect on eight canvases, each larger than the one that precedes it. And though each work shivers with its own optical electricity, seen together the series moves more like a musical composition than a mathematical problem. Conceptual substance couples with visual delight in this long-underappreciated and nearly forgotten artist’s impressive practice.