THOMAS NOZKOWSKI (1944-2019)
Thomas Nozkowski was born in New Jersey in 1947. He earned his BFA from Cooper Union in New York in 1967. His work has been featured in exhibitions worldwide since the 1970s and is held in the permanent collections of several prominent American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 2006 Nozkowski was awarded The Academy of Arts and Letters Merit Medal for Painting and in 2007 his work was featured at the Venice Biennale. The artist currently lives and works in New York.
Heralded as "the Chardin of contemporary abstraction" by The New Yorker, Nozkowski’s paintings carefully balance the interplay of biomorphic and geometric forms. Deliberately untitled and rather coded by number, the abstract forms maintain anonymity. The paintings therefore encourage introspection as the viewer evokes images and forms from their own memory. Nozkowski states his "project has been to make paintings that come from things in the real world. I mean ‘things’ to be taken in the broadest way " objects, ideas, moments " and I mean ‘real world’ to be taken as broadly, including both physical and speculative realities."
The artist has the unique ability to reinvent his style with each new canvas, as no two works are alike - aside from the fact that the majority of his paintings are all placemat sized at 16 x 20 inches. Heavily influenced by the political climate of the 1960s, the artist stated, "I felt I could no longer do big paintings that were for an audience of the very institutions I then despised"I wanted to paint paintings that could lit in my friends’ rooms." Thus Nozkowski has turned the traditionally bourgeois convention of the domestic-scaled painting into an object of political subversion. However though small in size, his paintings demand the viewer’s prolonged attention and undivided engagement.