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Channa Horwitz


Eight Expanded

Ink on graphed mylar
37 x 167 in. (93.98 x 424.18 cm)
Gift of the Marie Eccles Caine Foundation

Purveyor of a rigorous but lively aesthetic, Channa Horwitz investigated the vitality of measurement—that is, the dynamics of graphing, counting, and mathematical expansion. Her works are as much notations of thought made physical as they are inscriptions of attractive design. A product of the later 1960s, Horwitz was influenced by the prevalent practices of the era, including early conceptual art, more rationalistic forms of postwar geometric art, and the grid as a structural armature. Once she began building out her own kinetic geometry, Horwitz applied various processes to it, even employing it as a notation for human movement.

The conceptualist ethos that influenced Horwitz encouraged publication of prints and multiples, including books, in inexpensive editions, though she produced relatively few such editions. The most ambitious, Book of 8, is a bound book folded in accordion format. It is based on a sequence of related geometric inscriptions that also appear in this large drawing of Horwitz’s, Eight Expanded. While Eight Expanded is clearly the fundamental form taken by Horwitz’s imagery—Book of 8 takes that sheet and manipulates it into another shape altogether—the fact that its title proposes transformation indicates that she conceived the inscripted work originally in its book form (which predates Eight Expanded by two years). Or does it? After all, the eccentric radial geometric shapes shared by Eight Expanded and Book of 8 “expand” both within themselves and, in their progression, each on the last, resembling (in Eight Expanded, at least) the cels in an abstract animated film.

Horwitz did acknowledge a relationship between Eight Expanded and Book of 8 by giving a copy of the latter to NEHMA upon its purchase of the former out of her 2005 gallery show in Los Angeles.

Peter Frank

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