Critics’ Picks

Channa Horwitz, Language Series II, 1964–2004, casein paint on graph paper, 64 x 72”.

Channa Horwitz, Language Series II, 1964–2004, casein paint on graph paper, 64 x 72”.


Channa Horwitz

Raven Row
56 Artillery Lane
March 10–May 1, 2016

Channa Horwitz combined formal rigor and intuitive perception like few others within her Minimalist and Conceptualist milieu. At this exhibition’s entrance is Language Series II, 1964–2004, an expansive collection of orange squares painted in casein on graph paper, each one mathematically related to the number eight. (Horwitz used the numbers one through eight in constraints for the making of her works—in this piece, embedded within a square, sits an eight-by-eight-inch grid of smaller squares.) This painting serves as a blueprint for the artist’s large-scale installation Displacement, 2011/16, which premiered in 2011 at the Y8 Artyoga studio in Hamburg. Its reconstruction here will be “activated” by a yoga class. There’s a spiritual generosity at the core of this piece that one would be hard pressed to find in, for example, Sol LeWitt.

What at first looks like glimmering Mylar in Horwitz’s series “Moiré,” 1983–84, and “Canon,” 1987, is actually an accretion of precisely measured ink and casein lines in sherbet oranges and pastel greens, alongside cyans, magentas, and reds. Hanging from a wall is Dome Inside Square, 1968, a white plastic globe halved and protruding from the titular quadrilateral. It is also a projection screen for Horwitz’s 16-mm film At the Tone the Time Will Be, 1969, a collaboration between the artist and choreographer Sheila Rozann, featuring four dancers, Horwitz's daughter Ellen Davis among them, wearing graphic black-and-white leotards. The convex object distorts the film but makes clear Horowitz’s subjective approach toward creating enigmatic works of art.