Artist Larry Horowitz, who is currently the focus of a solo show at the Eisenhauer Gallery in Edgartown, is a plein air landscape painter, but his roots are in abstract art.
“I’m really an abstract painter hiding behind my landscape work,” says the artist. “I was trained by people who had studied with Hans Hoffman and with students from the Bauhaus school.” Straight out of art school, Mr. Horowitz was taken on as apprentice for renowned painter Wolf Kahn. At one time he made handmade pastels, supplying artists like Willem de Kooning and Frank Stella. That might help explain his expertise in and affection for color.
Mr. Horowitz’s use of bold color and reliance on form reflects his leanings toward abstraction. However, his Cape Cod and Vineyard scenes are easily recognizable, though details are often implied, outlines blurred a bit. “It’s not what you put in, it’s what you leave out,” says the artist.
“I try to listen carefully to what the painting wants to be,” writes Mr. Horowitz in his artist’s statement. “I paint quickly because, after all, the light is constantly changing. I tell the truth as I see it, leaving room for others to enter and have their own emotional response.”
The Eisenhauer Gallery featured some of Mr. Horowitz’s work in a show last year, and the response was very positive. This summer, Ms. Eisenhauer decided the time is right to host a solo show for the artist.
“I love landscapes, but I don’t usually show traditional work,” says gallery owner Elizabeth Eisenhauer. “It’s so well represented on the Island. But his [Mr. Horowitz’s] work just wowed me. He stands out. He doesn’t get lost in my gallery.”
Mr. Horowitz has a home in Wellesley, as well as one in New York State. “I’ve always wanted to be in a gallery on Martha’s Vineyard,” he says. “I’ve been coming here off and on for 30 years. I’m always looking for unique and beautiful landscapes, to search for emotional qualities in the scenery and express that.”
The artist, who prefers painting outdoors, establishes a connection with his landscapes that accounts for the emotional impact of his work. “I paint the vanishing American landscape, which is disappearing as we speak,” he says. “America is going through this huge transformation. It’s being homogenized. All of the towns are starting to look alike. That’s what makes Edgartown so beautifully unique. It’s very, very inspiring to be here.”
During a recent visit, Mr. Horowitz spent a few days on the Vineyard painting around downtown Edgartown, the harbor, and the lighthouse. Before the show officially opened, four of his large-scale paintings had already sold. It seems that the artist is earning fans on the Vineyard just as he has in points around the globe. He has shown in galleries across the United States and in Canada, and his work is in many major corporate and private collections. He has participated in the Art in Embassies program, and is included in embassies in Finland, Iceland, and Russia. Mr. Horowitz has been featured numerous times in major publications, including the New York Times. He has lectured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the American Embassy in Reykjavik, among other places.
“To me the most interesting thing is experiencing life — where I’ve been and where I’m going,” says Mr. Horowitz. “My specialty is travel. Wherever I go, I try to get the unique feel of the place.”
Both last year when he came to the Island for a short stretch, and this time around, when Mr. Horowitz also spent much of his time painting al fresco, the artist managed to immerse himself in his surroundings. “I feel like I’m a Vineyarder now,” he says, only half joking. “I can’t even remember what the Cape looks like anymore. I’m a local. I love the stories. I love the histories. I depict it with my own unique vision.”
Visit eisenhauergallery.com for more information, or call 508-627-7003.