Artists on Coping: Lori Horowitz

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Art Spiel is reaching out to artists to learn how they are coping.

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Exodus, 2020, mixed-media (fabric, torched copper, aluminum and brass, fiber and photography). Michael David & Co., Bushwick. Photo courtesy of the artist

Using eclectic techniques and materials, Lori Horowitz explores the overlooked interactions between individuals, exploring their social disconnect as well as common humanity. Since 2015, she has had six solo exhibitions and participated in numerous national gallery and museum group shows. She is also an independent curator, as well as the former curator and executive director of Studio 5404 Art Space in Massapequa, NY. Currently, she serves on the board of directors and advisory boards for two not- for- profit arts groups. Recently, her work has been featured in the NY Times, as well as local and international publications such as 1340 Art International, Azucar and Apero Magazines, in Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris.

AS: How are you coping?

LH: I’m fortunate to be in a safe and currently healthy situation, and am thankful for all I have. In my work, I’m isolated by choice, but now that I’m not in control of that choice, find it numbing. There is a surreal aura that hovers over me causing me to move in slow motion, and isolation triggers more time for introspection. I try to get myself to restart with the intensity, compassion and drive I usually feel but my perspective has changed, with health, family and safety taking my focus, especially for those who are compromised in some way. I struggle with how to keep them safe without sacrificing myself. The cavalier nature of so many, through ignorance and misguidance, is what puts us all at risk. In a time of frustration and deepening sense of fear, I try to keep perspective and concentrate on the positive.

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Love Birds, 2017,papier mâché, copper and wood. Photo courtesy of the artist 

AS: Has your routine changed?

LH: It has changed somewhat, although I’m fairly disciplined. I take care of personal obligations and office work before I get into the studio, and spend a maximum of three hours on the computer each day with editing photos, social media and preparing for shows. I’ve taken to drawing and working with my photos over the past two weeks. I find comfort in these drawings and am creating at least one daily. My sculpture work is very physical and interactive, requiring my full energy to sculpt with focus. I’m onto a new series, and need to move slowly to see how all the elements come together. I average six hours a day in the studio, but with the current crisis, I’ve been mentally distracted and not as productive.

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Thinker, 2020, colored pencil and photography. Photo courtesy of the artist

AS: Can you describe some of your feelings about all this?

LH: It’s hard to find the balance between creating art and understanding its place in relation to the pandemic. The isolation of working in the studio is self-imposed, with a sense of independence and contentment. Now isolation seems more like a punishment without visible cause or choice. Because of this, the focus of my work has shifted. Past relief sculptures were about the interactions of individuals, their challenges and social place, but my current efforts reflect social distancing. Instead of depicting people in society, I’m finding humanity through nature, a place to which I have unlimited access. We are all one species and are equally vulnerable.

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No Experience Necessary, 2018, mixed-media relief sculpture (papier mâché, torched and sculpted copper mesh and shadow). Photo courtesy of the artist

AS: What matters most right now?

LH: Continuing with life, keeping in touch with the outside world, not letting obstacles immobilize me. My number one concern is the health and safety of my family and those I care about. We need to work together, to plan, anticipate and listen to the most knowledgeable experts and not be misled by wishful thinking, stupidity and politics. Some show selfishness and fear, others generosity and support. By following updates and information, I can help control the spread of the virus, and in my art, reflect what I experience and see. The threat is invisible so be careful, aware, considerate, and smart.

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In the Shadows, 2020, sculpted copper, brass and aluminum wire mesh and shadow. Photo courtesy of the artist

AS: Any thoughts about the road ahead?

LH: I embrace the coming of spring, with new growth overtaking decay, and am returning to nature for inspiration. We’re at a unique moment historically, and I want to reflect this in a new series of installations. I’m always experimenting with technique and materials, combining those used in my past work, while referencing those of the early masters. The interactive nature of these new installations will be experienced down the road, and in the meantime, all I can do is to stay positive and keep creating. When life goes back to “normal,” we can all share the experiences of these challenging times, but for the moment, social media will have to do. Many shows and opportunities have been canceled, and I hope that the art world can take the hit and bounce back. So many people have incredible struggles to overcome, and the world needs to regain its strength so we can all thrive again as a society.

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Squatter, 2019, mixed media (torched copper mesh, aluminum and encaustic wax medium). Photo courtesy of the artist