Mart de Houwer
FUNDAMENTAL ARTIST, DEDICATED TO THE LINE
MART DE HOUWER
1931 Born on 29th of March in Zonhoven (BE)
1971 Evening school for art
1980 Silver State Medal for Drawing
1984 The ministry of the Flemish community buys three drawing
1988 The province of Limburg buys a drawing for the new Provincial Home
1990 Travel to Carrara, Italy, to create sculptures in white marble
1999 Died on April 24th 1999 at the age of 68 as a result of pancreas cancer.
| Ministerie van de Vlaamse gemeenschap
| Provincie Limburg, Provincie Huis
| Old Church As, Belgium
| Openair museum Bokrijk
| CIAP, Hasselt
| private collection, The Netherlands
Mart de Houwer started late in her life with her artistic career. She created works in a distinct and labor intensive matter. Some of her little drawings consist over 4000 lines, while larger works have close to half a million lines, created over a period of multiple months. Due to her personal approach, the labor intensity of the process and her short career, her artistic output is very limited. The total amount of her work is estimated to be around 150 individual pieces, including 3 large scale metal sculptures, 8 large drawings on paper, 11 square drawings and 7 works on canvas.
There are no written artistic statements, nor did she participate in influential exhibitions. Newspaper articles and recollections of befriended artists give some kind of insight in her mindset. After her death her studio was cleared out, what remained were fragments of her artistic bubble. Left untouched for more than two decades, now her archive and work is for the first time documented and organised.
Mart de Houwer’s artistic force lies behind the scenes, working in private. She placed herself alongside the art world, rarely stepping in plain view. She rather focussed on her art itself.
In the archive is one large pencil drawing from 1981 in which the artist gives a rare glimpse of her process and feelings. On the back she noted the used pencil: “8721 Stabilo swan:. In the same pencil she added a phrase: “Woorden: zeggen zo weinig” (“words: say so little.” ) It’s a perfect summary for Mart de Houwer as an artist.