Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (7-61), 1995, Oil on linen on panel, 40.6 x 50.8 cm, Courtesy the artist and PaceWildenstein, Photo: Kerry Ryan McFate / Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York. © Thomas Nozkowski / Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York.

Reinvention is the Adventure in Nozkowski's Small-Format Abstracts

Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (8-55), 2003, Oil on linen on panel, 76.2 x 101.6 cm, Private Collection, © Thomas Nozkowski / Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York.

Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (8-88), 2007, Oil on linen on panel, 55.9 x 71.1 cm, Beth Rudin deWoody Collection, Photo: Kerry Ryan McFate/ Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York. © Thomas Nozkowski / Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York.

Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (8-100), 2008, Oil on linen on panel, 55.9 x 71.1 cm, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal Collection, A 08 21 P 1, Photo : Richard-Max Tremblay, © Thomas Nozkowski / Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York.

Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (7-72), 1995, Oil on linen on panel, 40.6 x 50.8 cm, Max Protecht Collection, © Thomas Nozkowski / Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York.

 

National Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Drive
613-990-1985
Ottawa
Thomas Nozkowski
June 24-September 20, 2009

This is the largest exhibition to date devoted to American artist Thomas Nozkowski and comprises some 60 paintings produced over the past 20 years.

Among the finest abstract painters today, he has developed a wide variety of organic and geometric forms. The resulting paintings transgress historical conventions of abstraction, keeping it alive and relevant into the 21st century.

For his first exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, director Marc Mayer presents the most important retrospective ever mounted on the work of New York artist Thomas Nozkowski, which comprises more than 50 paintings produced since 1980.

“Nozkowski is the kind of artist who interests me, and whose work I find breathtaking,” says Mayer. “He is daring, pushes his work to the limit, and reinvents himself in each painting. He is a true revolutionary.”

Mayer includes Nozkowski among the greatest abstract painters of his generation and credits him with ensuring that it remained a vibrant art form in North America over the last 30 years.

Using a small format (40.6 × 50.8 cm), these works represent a succession of paintings that completely differ from one another. They offer abstract forms in highly diversified colour palettes that evoke, among other things, movement and change.

“If there is one constant in Nozkowski’s work, other than the format and the medium,” Mayer adds, “it is that there is no consistency. Each painting is a new adventure. Viewers have to take the time to look at the paintings, to establish a relationship with the subject.”

Nozkowski says that the forms in his abstract paintings are derived from things or impressions in his daily life and experience. However, he refuses to reveal their sources so that he doesn’t influence those who contemplate his works. By the same token, none of his paintings have a title. Each of his works is coded with a number, leaving viewers free to formulate their own interpretation.

Thomas Nozkowski (b. 1944, Teaneck, New Jersey) received a B.F.A. from The Cooper Union Art School in New York City in 1967. The artist, who is known for his small-scale abstract paintings, began exhibiting in group shows in 1973, and made his solo debut in 1979. By 1982, the Museum of Modern Art, New York had acquired a painting from an early one-person exhibition for their permanent collection. To date, Nozkowski’s paintings have been featured in more than 300 museum and gallery exhibitions worldwide, including nearly 70 solo exhibitions.

Apart from this solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, other significant shows have included Thomas Nozkowski: Paintings, a survey from 1979 through 2003, at the Fisher Landau Center (2008); Thomas Nozkowski: Subject to Change at the Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, Germany (2007); Thomas Nozkowski: Drawings, a retrospective of the artist’s works on paper, organized by the New York Studio School (2003); and Thomas Nozkowski: Twenty-Four Paintings, at The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., which traveled to The Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas through 1998.

In 2007, Nozkowski’s works were included in Robert Storr’s exhibition at the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind – Art in the Present Tense.

Nozkowski has received numerous accolades throughout his career. Most recently, in 2007, the artist was invited to become a member of the National Academy of Design.  Nozkowski has been honored with four awards from The American Academy of Arts and Letters: the Merit Medal for Painting (2006), the Award in Painting (1999) and the Purchase Prize (1998, 1999).  The artist has also received a number of prestigious fellowships and grants, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1993); the New York State Foundation for the Arts fellowship Award (1989), the New York State Creative Artists Public Service Grant (1985) and the National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant (1984).

Nozkowski has lectured at institutions across the United States including Columbia University School of the Arts (1996), the American University Graduate School of the Arts, Washington D.C. (1997), and the Cooper Union Art School, New York (1997).  In 2003, he became a Professor of Fine Art at the Mason Gross School of the Arts of Rutgers University. Nozkowski is currently the Bob and Happy Doran Visiting Artist at the Yale University Art Gallery.

Nozkowski’s work can be found in numerous collections worldwide, including the Brooklyn Museum; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Ireland; The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Morgan Library and Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The New York Public Library, New York; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery, among others.

Thomas Nozkowski joined PaceWildenstein in 2007 and made his solo debut at the gallery one year later with an exhibition of approximately 40 recent paintings created between 2006 and 2008.

Thomas Nozkowski lives and works in New York City and High Falls, New York.

Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (7-53), 1994, Oil on linen on panel, 40.6 x 50.8 cm, Private Collection, Photo: courtesy the artist and PaceWildenstein, New York. © Thomas Nozkowski / Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York.