The exhibition draws together approximately 25 paintings that span four decades of the artist’s career, from the 1970s through the early 2000s. Each of the vibrantly colored abstract paintings in the exhibition measures 16 x 20 inches – a common canvas size that the artist has used extensively throughout his career.
The first monograph of Nozkowski’s work was published in fall 2017 by Lund Humphries. Written by poet, art critic, and curator John Yau, Thomas Nozkowski is part of the publisher’s new series Contemporary Painters , edited by art critic Barry Schwabsky.
While abstract in style, each of Nozkowski’s paintings is rooted in a specific experience, event or place that the artist has encountered. Early on in his career, Nozkowski began to work on a 16 x 20-inch surface – consciously distancing himself from the dominance of gestural painting embodied by the Abstract Expressionists and countering the common critical proclamation of abstract painting’s end. By focusing himself on a small canvas, he deliberately constrained the possibility of the gesture and drew himself closer to the painting’s surface. As his practice has evolved from a concentration on biomorphic and geometric shapes to a more recent use of patterns and broken grids, Nozkowski has repeatedly used the 16 x 20-inch format to explore these complex and varied concerns. This exhibition will provide a rare overview of these paintings, which have not been gathered together in a focused exhibition for over a decade.
“I like paintings that balance contradictions. I like paintings that look clear and simple at first glance and then sort of crumble under your gaze. And it’s even better if further looking enables you to put it together again, understand it in a new way.”—Thomas Nozkowski