LESLEY MAIA HOROWITZ // COURSE OF EMPIRE
Opening Reception: Thursday June 8, 2017, 6-9pm
On view June 8 – July 28, 2017
Gallery Hours: Friday – Saturday 11am-4pm or by appointment
Eleven Twenty Projects: 1120 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14209
“If men were not insensible to the beauty of nature the great works necessary for the purposes of commerce might be carried on without destroying it, and at times might even contribute to her charms by rendering her more accessible; but it is not so. They desecrate whatever they touch. They cut down the forests with a wantonness for which there is no excuse, even gain, & leave the herbless rocks to glimmer in the burning sun.” - Thomas Cole, 1836
Eleven Twenty Projects is pleased to present Course of Empire, a solo exhibition by photographer Lesley Maia Horowitz. The show opens Thursday June 8 from 6-9pm, and runs through July 29, 2017. The gallery is located at 1120 Main St Buffalo, NY 14209.
The works selected for this exhibit allows the viewer to step into a void, contemplating and refreshing painter Thomas Cole’s 1836 prophetic series of five paintings, Course of Empire, which depicted the decline of a modern civilization. Cole’s great cycle evokes comparison with Western New York’s decaying industrial backdrop, reinvigorating plaintive notions of a lost American landscape with stark immediacy and commanding relevance.
Over the past decade, Horowitz has been documenting abandoned landscapes of the Northeast United States, focusing on historical industrial architecture and former routes of power. Her current photographic work recasts the disintegrating topography of post-industrial America, revealing the unsettling beauty and solemn grandeur left in the wake of failed promise.
Beyond blasted out windows and falling steel beams, an interior desolation projects outward. Horowitz’s monochromatic palette pushes us toward a cleansing light that seeps through the darkness, as shadows convey the ghostliness of absent worker's past lives.
Unlike Cole’s culminating painting “Desolation,” Horowitz’s photography highlights the stark possibility that Nature itself has been permanently diminished, since her images render the sites beyond recovery. Here Cole’s cycle stands shattered into discontinuity, and Horowitz’s work serves not as an adjunct, but rather as the true environmental ending.
ABOUT THE ARTIST: Lesley Maia Horowitz is an artist, designer and co-founder of the NYC based design agency, Officelab. Originally from Buffalo, NY, she now lives in and works in the Hudson Valley. After earning her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design she went on to work in product design, furniture design and, later, as a principal creative at Officelab. Her photographs of abandoned factories, and industrial landscapes have documented the decline of the Rustbelt's manufacturing economy. Her design work has won multiple awards and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Chicago Athenaeum, as well as numerous private collections worldwide.