A subconscious explored
“My work itself is a record of my dreams and my nightmares,” says the Brooklyn-based artist Daniel Horowitz, whose solo show “Planned Obsolescence” opens with a reception Thursday March 12th (6PM-9PM) at the experimental artist-run space The Dept of Signs and Symbols in Vinegar Hill. (The show runs through April 12th.)
The ephemeral and bizarre nature of the unseen is a major theme in his work. “Only the type of uncanny juxtapositions that occur in dreams interest me as subjects for my paintings,” muses Horowitz. With this in mind, it’s no wonder Lulu Miller, the co-host of Invisibilia, asked him to illustrate each episode of the insanely popular podcast.
In just a few weeks Horowitz will head off to Europe where he will reside and exhibit with the Leipzig International Art Programme in Germany and the Encontrarte Art Center in Barcelona, Spain. Here he gives us some insight into his process and more.
You grew up in West Village in the 80’s and 90’s. How has that played into your art?
Essentially New York has defined me as a person. I believe that people from New York gain a 6th sense, a heightened awareness about the world around them. Of course you have to be hyper alert riding a bicycle through traffic or dodging rats in Chinatown, but also you become aware of personal space, customs and culture. In fact I would say my work is decidedly diverse in technique and content probably because of this.
You were part of the residency program at Pioneer Works in Red Hook. What was it like to work out of the space with other artists?
PW was an extraordinary experience that allowed me to expand the scale of my work and overcome my fears of creating in a public shared environment.
You’re about to embark on two residencies in Germany and Spain after having just completed a residency in Mexico City – how does your travel and experience of new cultures inform your work?
I would say that my work is reactive and is informed by the context in which it is being created. From the subject to the materials, I am discovering that working outside the comfort of my studio allows for more opportunity to grow as an artist.
What are you favorite places for inspiration in New York?
I find the neighborhood I’ve called home for the last 8 years, Vinegar Hill, most inspiring. Nothing else is quite like it, its sort of a hamlet smack in the middle of industry. The juxtaposition of the commodore’s mansion overlooking the navy yards, the Con Edison defunct smoke stack towering high over quaint 19 century townhouses that house my studio and apartment, and throw in a Tibetan monastery into the mix, and there you have Vinegar Hill.
How did your collaboration with Invisibilia come about? How does that process work?
The short story is that Lulu Miller called me up and insisted that I had to do it, even though I haven’t been taking on much consulting work these days. The longer story is that we have been admiring each other’s work for several years now, and collaborated on a bunch of stuff for NPR and Radiolab. I was thrilled to work on a mind-expanding project and can’t say enough about how proud I am with how everything turned out.