If you could choose a hundred items to explain who you are, which would you choose? Or better, which would you create?
Local artist Ceil Horowitz will share her sketches, drawings and paintings as part of her first solo show, One Hundred Drawings and Paintings, which opens today at Cucuru Gallery Café.
Horowitz's work, mainly portraits and landscapes, directly mirrors her life. She sketches her friends, paints surreal self-portraits expressing the hardships in her life and the joyful experiences that have shaped her. Thus, they are deeply and lovingly personal.
A big fan of local music, she sketches bands like the Ricky Sweum Trio and Grass It Up during shows. At the Goodwill auctions, she completes scratchy drawings of friends.
These sketches, which make up almost half of the show, are brilliant as gesture studies (rapid drawings that depict a subject's posture, visual weight and movement rather than details and facial likenesses). Horowitz attributes her use of line to that of her mentor, another local artist, Ellen O'Brien. Horowitz helped curate O'Brien's own solo show at Cucuru a few years ago. (Read about it here.)
Some of Horowitz's most poignant pieces are the images of her hands. She has rheumatoid arthritis and underwent nine surgeries on the joints. For five years, she was unable to touch her thumb to her fingers. When she could again, she says it was like a prayer.
Due to the arthritis, Horowitz can't ski, but she will hit the slopes to paint. Her "Chalkboard Paintings" (so named because they're painted on small personal chalkboards made for children) depict mountain ranges as seen from the base, or the middle, of the slopes.
A streak of surrealism runs through the show. The work below is a self-portrait of Horowitz as a spider. She says she went through a difficult period in her life but pulled through it by simply starting over, or rebuilding her web.
Spiders and insects recur in her work. Horowitz kept a black widow spider as a pet for a year and a half, which strikes you as creepy until you see her sketches and paintings of it. The work below is endearing in its whimsical, abstract dimensions and with the spider replicated to show its various activities.
One Hundred Paintings and Drawings will open tonight with a reception from 6 to 9, and will feature live music from Grass It Up. While you're there, be sure to learn some of the stories behind these works. Horowitz is more than willing to share them. The exhibit will up through Jan. 3.