The London-based art critic Charles Darwent had this to say about the sculpture:
It would be easy to walk past Fritz Horstman’s Gowanus Canal, it being made of discarded construction materials and locked behind a fence on a nondescript corner in Brooklyn. Even when you realise that it is sculpture, things do not necessarily get easier. Gowanus has an air of purpose: its forms are abstract, but the work itself clearly isn’t. Nor do its materials feel poetically trashy in the way that, say, a Rauschenberg’s might. The outer face of the sculpture’s panels bear the legend “Plum Creek”, this being the trade name of their constituent plywood. I suspect this suggestion of rural innocence made them attractive to Horstman, since Gowanus is actually a scaled-down mapping of the Gowanus Canal; among the most polluted bodies of water in the world, a few hundred metres from where his sculpture stands.
Which is to say that Gowanus is cryptic, and sets out to be. Look down into its namesake canal and you seem to see (or not see) the opacity of history – a story of bald capitalism and environmental rapine, summed up in the murkiness of the Gowanus's waters. Look into Horstman’s sculpture and you find the average accretions of a Brooklyn street: a styrofoam cup, dead leaves, a wrapper that reads “Italy’s Most Loved.” Left to itself, Gowanus is turning into Gowanus, the historical processes making the one mimicking those that made the other.
But does this have a meaning? Gowanus may be a magnet for street rubbish, but it does not attract easy art history. A canal is a stretch of water between banks or, alternatively, banks with a stretch of water between them. For every thing that Horstman’s sculpture seems to be, it is equally possibly the opposite of that thing. This, perhaps, is its cleverness and its point. You may suspect a political agenda in Gowanus, or an environmental one; you may see shades of Smithson or of Schwitters. Whether those things are in the work, it is not going to say: it is not about clarity, but the opposite. The inner faces of its panels have been splashed by their previous use on a construction site: hidden away, they look like early abstract expressionist paintings. They may even be beautiful. Or, of course, they may not.
Formwork for Lily Creek
24" x 20' x 8'
Reclaimed construction material
Installed at The Mount in Lenox, MA for the exhibition SculptureNow.
To Find is a collaboration between Solange Roberdeau and Fritz Horstman. Roberdeau was artist-in-residence in the autumn of 2014 at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, where Horstman runs the residency program. Every day for a month one or the other artist made a drawing of a plant found on the Foundation's seventy-acre property in central Connecticut. The drawing was given to the other artist with no mention of the name of the plant, nor its location on the property. That artist then went out to find the drawn plant, collected a sample, and pressed it. The second artist then made a drawing of a different plant. That drawing was given to the first artist, who went out to collect a sample, and the cycle repeated, each artist making fourteen drawings, and pressing fourteen plants. he resulting twenty-eight drawings and plants are displayed together in a long accordion book, which disassembles to be housed in a custom box. These photos were taken at the Institute Library in New Haven, CT, where the artists showed another collaboration made with Martha Lewis.
Small Wooden Sculptures
Furniture Archive Formwork, 2013, plywood and pine, 10 x 15 x 2"
Hill House Formwork, 2013, pine, 7 x 10 x 2"
Tall Trees Foundation, 2013, Plywood and Basswood, 6 x 6 x 2"
Windsor Court Foundation, 2014, Red Balou and Basswood, 5 x 7 x 2"
U Bend, 2014, Basswood and Plywood, 9 x 14 x 6"
Laurentide Formwork, 2013, Walnut and Basswood, 6 x 7 x 2"
Mitten Creek Formwork, 2013, Walnut and Cedar, 8 x 16 x 1"
Lily Creek Formwork, 2014, Plywood and Basswood, 5 x 7 x 1"
River Form, 2014, Basswood, 12 x 8 x 1"
Red Balou Grainwork, 2014, Red Balou and Basswoo, 5 x 13 x 2"
Walnut Formwork, 2014, Walnut and Basswood, 4 x 18 x 2"
Yale's Peabody Museum asked me to make an installation for Earth Day 2013 on Beinecke Plaza. My solution was a 100+ foot-long model of the Quinnipiac River, made of plastic water bottles. There was a water truck on site filled with Quinnipiac River water and thousands of empty bottles. I filled bottles all day and placed them in the outline of the river. Visitors participated in the construction of the river, using either their own bottles or those provided.
I chiseled and dremeled specific rings from these sections of trees. The rings I removed represent periods of human history that may or may not have been registered in the tree's growth pattern.
"1997", Made in 2011, Black Birch and Styrofoam, 3 x 8 x 8"
"2000 Through 2008", Made in 2011 - 14, White Pine and Beeswax, 3 x 12 x 12"
"1981", Made in 2012, Red Maple and Graphite, 2 x 9 x 9"
"The 1980's", Made in 2011, Paper Birch and Arcylic, 7 x 5 x 5"
"1978", Made in 2013, White Birch, Salt and Acrylic, 2 x 9 x 9"
Bowls, 2012, Ceramic, 2 x 6 x 6"
Bowls, 2012, Ceramic, 1.5 x 8 x 8"
Five Feet Under
These photographs were taken over the course of one year. An underwater camera was attached to the end of an eight-foot long stick, and then submerged in the same place in the same pond at the same time of day.
They are hung as a frieze, and printed to the appropriate size to fill their space -- usually 8 x 10.5" or 12 x 16". 180 pictures were taken, spanning September 2010 through September 2011.
Falling Leaf Diagrams
These drawings were made by tracing each frame of videos shot of leaves falling, or by watching leaves and tracing their movements as they fall. Chris Boone wrote about them here.
Falling Leaves, 2012, Conté Crayon on Paper, 8 x 8"
18 Falling Leaves, 2009, Colored Pencil on Paper, 8 x 10"
11 Falling Leaves, 2011, Colored Pencil on Paper, 7 x 12"
Falling Leaves, 2012, Conté Crayon on Paper, 10 x 13"
Falling Leaves, 2012, Colored Pencil on Paper, 11 x 14"
Five Leaves Falling, 2010, Ink on Paper, 100 x 75"
Orange Leaves, 2012, Colored Pencil on Paper, 12 x 16"
Leaves and Animals, 2013, Colored Pencil on Paper, 7 x 8"