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Fritz Horstman: Folded Light

Mar 1 — Apr 22, 2023

Saturday, March 4 | Artist Reception, 5–7pm | Artist Remarks, 6pm

Municipal Bonds is pleased to present “Fritz Horstman: Folded Light,” on view March 1–April 22, 2023. The gallery’s first exhibition with the artist features a selection of Horstman’s Folded Cyanotypes. The work comprises deep blue images of shapes that emerge from the confluence of folded paper and sunlight.

Folded Cyanotypes are a series of two-dimensional objects, which carry the memory of light, three-dimensional space and manual manipulation, and which stem from Horstman’s interest in natural structure. They are at once sculptures and drawings, which also fit comfortably into the history of cameraless photography. Made by first folding paper by hand into an intricate pattern, they are then unfolded. Cyanotype photographic fluid is applied by brush, and then working in the dark to protect the light-sensitive material, the paper is refolded and placed in natural light, which the artist sometimes manipulates using mirrors and lenses. The paper is then rinsed in water, and pressed flat to dry. What was exposed to light in the process turns blue when developed, and what was not remains white, furthering the spatial complications by reversing lightness and darkness.

The folding patterns are Horstman’s own adaptations of tessellating patterns. Following the same physics that impels crystals to grow at certain angles, dried mud to crack in chaotic-yet-predictable ways, and produces the familiarity of the creases in a particular smile, the patterns interlock in ways similar to geometric tiles. Their shapes and the materiality of paper present both firm boundaries and enormous potential. Though the act of physically dealing with paper beyond a certain dimension becomes unwieldy, any of the patterns could in theory extend forever, charting the artist’s own understanding of being and space.

Close inspection reveals that these are handmade objects. No computers were used — only hands, a ruler, and a scoring device. The aesthetic result of this engagement with materials and the directness of the cyanotype and folding processes is important to Horstman. Small human errors compound to complicate patterns that grow and modulate, developing new rules, limitations, and potentials from one edge of the paper to the other. Such discrepancies overlaid with the variances of the cyanotype process result in images that could neither be fully anticipated nor perfectly repeated.

Folded Cyanotypes slip back and forth in dimensionality, reading as flat paper, as the memory of when they were folded, and as a depiction of shapes suspended in an indeterminate space. They conflate the subjective and objective, overlap form and void, and dance between flatness and three-dimensionality. The viewer is asked to position themselves in the profound, existential beauty of at once being in the distilled present and expanding into the boundlessness of infinity.

Fritz Horstman (b. 1978, Albion, MI) is an artist, educator, and curator based in Bethany, Connecticut. Recent selected exhibitions include Ishibashi Gallery (solo), Concord, Mass; Seton Hill University (solo), Greensburg, Penn; Jennifer Terzian Gallery (solo), Litchfield, Conn; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn; Martin Museum, Baylor University; drj art projects, Berlin, Germany; Artic Hysteria, Bergen, Norway, and St. Petersburg, RU. He has permanently installed sculptures in Ås, Norway and at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany. Recent curatorial projects include Anni Albers: Work with Materials at the Syracuse University Art Museum, In Thread and On Paper: Anni Albers in Connecticut at the New Britain Museum of American Art; Becoming Trees at Concord Art in Concord, Massachusetts; and Water Access at the Ely Center of Contemporary Art in New Haven. Recent awards and residencies include the Connecticut Art Fellowship; Bauhaus Dessau Artist-in-Residence; the Arctic Circle Residency; and Shiro Oni Residency, Onishi, Japan. He has lectured and given workshops at Yale University, Harvard University, l’École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Lebanese American University in Beirut, The Royal Academy of Art in London, and many other institutions. Education Director at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, he received his MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and his BA from Kenyon College.


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