Sculptor Etty Horowitz takes on challenges, big or small

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 02, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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The artworks of Etty Horowitz have gone public in a very big way.

The Israeli-born artist and Fort Worth resident, as both a sculptor and an architect, has garnered several public art commissions recently. She completed a piece for a Dallas fire station and a Holocaust memorial for Shearith Israel Synagogue in Dallas. In March, the Chisholm Trail Community Center in far southwest Fort Worth opened with a Horowitz sculpture twining across the facade.

On her drawing board is an even grander project — the Interstate 30 Gateway Monument, an entrance sign to the city of Fort Worth that will be located on the east side of the city along I-30. This is a public art project that the Fort Worth Art Commission announced several years ago but has been slow to jell. There were so many discussions, so many factions to appease, so many city council members to weigh in.

Finally, there was consensus. The entry would not feature longhorns or cowboy hats.

“No Western. No longhorns. It’s going to be magnificent,” says Horowitz, who came to the United States 23 years ago and has lived in Fort Worth since 1994.

The sign will stretch more than 500 feet along the highway. There will be 18 walls of repurposed concrete abutments that will run perpendicular to the highway, and on top of every other wall will be an 8-foot-tall stainless-steel letter. The nine letters will spell out FORT WORTH. Each wall and letter will be lit, with wildflowers planted between the walls. The work’s installation is still many months away.

“It is a prolonged experience. It opens like an accordion or a Burma Shave ad,” she says, before quickly admitting that she has no idea what that means beyond the fact that someone at one of the meetings suggested it. She had to do a Google search on the signature advertising from the 1920s through the ’60s, something differing from the single large billboard for Love Field in Dallas that has been ongoing for 13 years. During the lulls between projects, Horowitz makes sculptures, drawings and mono-prints.

Designing and building her home in Mira Vista took her three years. Plus there was a bout with cancer and a time when she made quite a few corsetlike constructions.

The pliable aluminum flashing material she uses to construct the laced undergarments lies beneath. Unfortunately, the edges are razor sharp.

A slinky series comes next. They were more playful, and less threatening, she recalls.

Lately Horowitz’s shapes have become more organic, as if they have grown from the earth. The series will run a trajectory, and once it is complete, she is off in a new direction.

“I like to evolve and take risks,” she says. “I’m always eager to start from zero. There is fear with the unknown, but I love the fear. That way I know it is going to be exciting.”

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