For an artist whose early body of work was focused on poking fun at the immediate present through elaborate online and IRL performances, Marc Horowitz’s recent paintings seem surprisingly preoccupied with making sense of the past.
His canvases begin on the studio floor as raw material. Over the course of many days and weeks, they’re casually stepped on—imprinted—by friends, family, assistants, and dogs who knowingly and unknowingly, leave a trace of their presence. After a while, Horowitz lays sketches taken from Italian Master paintings onto the canvases, placing a generally accepted and distant view of art history over the immediate touch of his contemporaries. Finally, he fills in these centuries-old images with a thick mantle of lurid paint, pungent and almost clownish in its color and impasto surface.
By the time his paintings are finished, they’ve been acted upon by a select cast of characters: Marc himself, the people in his life, and a group of image makers from long ago. Though these people have all left the scene of the proverbial crime, vestiges of their activities remain.
Viewed as simultaneously sincere and sarcastic, reverent and mocking, innovative and nostalgic, it’s not hard to connect Horowitz’s current paintings to his early and impactful performances that predicted the internet’s future as a viral marketing machine that would merge disparate people and information to breed complex new forms and languages. The truth is, Horowitz, who initially began his career as a painter before moving into experimental performance, has always felt as if he should—or perhaps was doomed to—occupy the present, past, and a promised future all at once.
- Lindsay Howard