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Press & Reviews: February 2000 - National Reviews - ARTnews Magazine

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National Reviews


Thomas Ostenberg and Timothy Hawkesworth
Peyton Wright Gallery, Santa Fe

Thomas Ostenberg makes bronze sculptures of figures balancing atop figures balancing atop horses. Timothy Hawkesworth tears paper, then layers the pieces, adding graphite, scorch marks, melted wax and pigment. Despite the difference in media, the two artists revealed here how much they have in common. Both take an intuitive and figurative approach, though Ostenberg's freewheeling sculptural acrobats were easier to love than Hawkesworth's dark, quivering masses of pencil lines, which are difficult to decode.

Horses play starring roles in both artists' work and act as symbolic anchors for their human counterparts. Hawkesworth's depiction in Going Down in Time II has horse and rider stolidly planted, while figures arranged in an arc look as if they were being thrown off a spinning wheel. In Ostenberg's Matter Don't Matter, a horse straddling two rings labors to keep a somersaulting man aloft.

Hawkesworth's desecration of materials, his untamed lines, and his scrawled writings express the frenzied innocence of a child's scribbling. Ostenberg evokes this more explicitly with his rollicking, playful people. In [Ostenberg's] monumental triptych entitled In Pursuit of a Clearer Understanding, three female figures have spidery legs that taper off into wheeled contraptions, horn like protuberances jutting from the backs of their heads and their bodies cross-hatched. With rudimentary features and an earthiness reminiscent of Etruscan artifacts, they twist and push as if to break free from their moorings. The psychological tension in this artwork serves as a reminder that life maintains a perilous balance between taking risks and simply hanging on.

— Dottie Indyke

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