Magazine article Artforum International

Elias Fine Art

Magazine article Artforum International

Elias Fine Art

Article excerpt

CHUCK HOLTZMAN

Long known for his intricate, architectonic wood sculptures, Chuck Holtzman has spent the past five years focused exclusively on works on paper. Originally meant as an adjunct to sculpture, drawing has become an end in itself. Featuring delicate gestures and lines in charcoal, india ink, and Conte crayon, often made with drafting instruments, many of these works have also been cut, sanded, and reconfigured like neoconstructivist jigsaw puzzles.

The earlier works here blend solid shapes with vaporous ethereal forms in a kind of abstract narrative; organic yet precise arcs, ellipses, and circles in velvety charcoal contrast with sharp lines made with the help of various tools. In one 1997 drawing (all works Untitled), three distinct but related strata can be identified. The top third of the paper is dominated by an Eiffel Tower-like configuration of curves and angles made with a ruler. An airy middle level is punctuated by floating cloudlike forms in filmy gray charcoal; the overlapping curves and evanescent ghostly images are a result of snapping a french curve over a surface dusted with charcoal powder. The bottom portion of the drawing is distinguished by a delicate arrangement of ellipses and circles of varying intensities dancing across the paper. Drawn ellipses and circles imprinted by an industrial sander appear on all three levels, uniting the composition.

By 1998, Holtzman was increasingly excavating his drawings by cutting them up, removing parts, and turning them back to front in an effort to get deeper into the structure of the paper. …

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