“For Ruth, The Sky in Los Angeles: Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and David Horvitz” at Wende Museum

This surprisingly buoyant exhibition borrows its title from a young 2016 drawing by David Horvitz, a text-based work consisting of the phrases “For Ruth, the sky in l. a..” Written in blue-purple watercolor, Horvitz’s childlike scrawl conveys, extra aptly than {a photograph} or a representational drawing, the sweetness and elusiveness of a cloudless LA sky at nightfall. 

The “Ruth” to whom the sky is addressed is Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, an artist born in 1932 who was lively in East Germany from the Seventies till 1990, when she retired from artmaking after the Berlin Wall fell. Unfettered freedom, she felt, rendered her playfully subversive work superfluous. What Wolf-Rehfeldt made throughout these a long time have been sly objects that skated previous the censors—works she known as “typewritings,” drawings created on an Erika typewriter, first with droll phrases and phrases (clearly impressed by concrete poetry) and later purely with symbols that rework into texture on the web page, typically accompanied by collage. Many of those items have been despatched to addresses world wide as mail artwork, a medium for connection and alternate that her husband, artist Robert Rehfeldt (1931–1993), had inspired her to affix him in cultivating.

A few years after her retirement, Wolf-Rehfeldt met Horvitz when his spouse and collaborator Zanna Gilbert, a analysis specialist on the Getty Analysis Institute, despatched him on a mission to the Rehfeldts’ huge archive of mail artwork in Berlin. Judging by this exhibition and its considerate catalogue, their acquaintance has been mutually fortuitous, bringing Wolf-Rehfeldt’s work to better consideration and drawing out a few of the hyperlinks between Horvitz’s poetic gestures and his art-historical contact factors. Most salient is Horvitz’s exploration of artwork’s capability to bridge distances each bodily and psychological, not not like mail artwork at its top. Take The Distance of a Day, 2013, comprising two side-by-side iPhones taking part in movies the artist and his mom made at the exact same second, one in all them observing the LA sundown and the opposite capturing the identical solar rising over the Maldives. When being proximate is unimaginable, a actuality we now all know too nicely, we’d discover consolation on this reminder that we nonetheless share the solar and sky, regardless of how huge our separation.