Sasha Holzer’s woodcarvings have been great throughout their 30-year development: his obscurity as an artist, however, has nothing to do with artworld neglect. Holzer has never sought out recognition but has chosen instead to quietly pursue his own self-generating goals in total seclusion from the artworld and the pressures of exhibiting. During this time he has made numerous shallow relief woodcarvings, which have evolved from characteristically gridded ones – resembling sections of a potentially infinite pattern – to more recent ones that have a sense of formal containment and in which images have started to appear. The earlier work arouses disorientating optical sensations and a sense both of a dematerialisation and a heightened sense of wood simultaneously. Their geometric structure has recently relaxed and has begun to suggest the emergence of figurative elements, often with Arcadian associations: wheatsheaves, foliage and nudes all take on a quality of shimmering perceptual ambiguity. With its repetition of more organic and curvaceous grooves, his recent work creates a space contained by the frame rather than cut by it, and his repetitions now seem to generate a reverberative quality in their half-evoked images. Now that he has chosen to exhibit for the first time in three decades, I am sure I will be sharing the experience of Holzer’s future development with a growing public.
Originally published in the March 2013 issue