Chuck Holtzman

At Barbara Krakow Gallery

(Originally published in The Boston Phoenix, November, 1990)

Chuck Holtzman‘s most recent wall sculptures are constructed from pieces of wood that are cut and measured, nailed and bolted together, assembled and reassembled into a jagged harmony of forms. Some of the pieces of wood are painted; some are left raw; others are marked with sharp black pencil lines.

Holtzman’s sculpture conveys a sense of movement ‑‑ a sense of process. It is disciplined and graceful, like Tai Chi ‑‑ a slow‑motion warrior dance. He also makes wonderful small charcoal drawings, and a few of them are on view here.

In the drawings, all that motion and emotion is condensed and compressed onto a single surface. His line moves from deep, dense pools of charcoal black to the pale ghostly grays of partially erased lines.

Holtzman’s sculpture is like a very sophisticated game of musical chairs, where all the pieces come together for a moment of perfect, precarious balance. In his drawings, the charcoal keeps on dancing, long after the music stops.

by Rebecca Nemser for


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