In 2006 Dion Horstmans left behind a successful career in the film industry to commit to a full time contemporary art practise as a sculptor. The scaffolding for that decision was always in place. The artist concedes that his first creative impulses were forged by observing the primal power of nature in his native New Zealand. “The geometry of trees, the unexpected junctures of landscape and the sheer pleasure of “making and constructing” began with Meccano and, over time, blossomed into a mastery of metal in all forms.”
To understand the passage and evolution of Horstman’s work, it helps to imagine each piece interlocking like a chain link of DNA. Building upon an internal and unfolding pattern of replication, the artist lays down one sculpture and draws on the shadows it casts to generate a new work. Over time the lines, proportions and forms sprawl, twist and re-invent themselves. The results are works that bristle with a kinetic energy that ricochet off the gallery wall.
“The eye is meant to fire everywhere. I work from left to right and that is the flow. Like a human body there is a defined parameter and a dynamic visual navigation between north, south, east and west. The themes of each piece link to the universal but their creation and physical proportion is intensely physical. The span of my sculptures reflects exactly the span of my reach as well as fitting a standard sheet size in both plywood and steel. They also have to fit in the back of a truck!”
Horstmans is prolific but solitary. He works alone on a sprawl of sculptures in concurrent production. His studio process is both meticulous and all consuming. To generate one small body of work there may be 100 hours of cutting, welding and filing before each sculpture is powder coated in his signature electrified palette. His aesthetic is driven by line, balance and light. To live with one of his sculptures is to experience a mutation of a work of art through the passage of the sun. Shadows stretch to their elastic limit or converge according to the time of day, each line yielding its enclosed energy over time.
“I like the energy of line because it is directional and dynamic, that’s a living language that I can understand without formal training. Physically, innately, I understand balance and I understand weight. I am not just creating out of concrete elements: Gravity is an art material as is the play of shadow. I like the speed of straight lines, the way the works elongate in different seasons.”
Dion Horstmans sites nature as his prime template. But his perception of natural world is as an endless line, a throbbing sound wave, and a web of patterns known and unknown, visible and invisible.
He is drawn to “the symmetry of seeds and the engineering of insect winds” and from these intricate sources spring sophisticated and minimal compositions.
“All I do is elongate, I strip it back and stretch it out. By replicating and mutating endless constructions I am not replicating myself, instead I am replicating the pattern and velocity of my inspiration.
The response to this singular vision has been consistent and embracing in the scope of private and corporate collections as well as recent commissions for major public sculptures such as Genesis for Sydney's Ryde Park in conjunction with UAP, Super Sonic for Collins Square, Melbourne with Hassell/Walker, Elektromaster for Central Park in Sydney and Prismatic for the Ibis Hotel in Brisbane.
Before joining the Olsen Gallery in Sydney Horstmans work featured in a number of successful solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney and Asia, as well as participation in several festivals and group exhibitions, including the Vivid Festival, Sculpture by the Sea, Artisans in the Park, Sydney Botanical Gardens and several curated shows at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. In 2015 Horstmans was invited to exhibit a solo show at Bega Regional Gallery.