I was recently struck by a Matisse-like painting used to promote a new exhibition at the The Pace Gallery. It turned out to be by American born Thomas Nozkowski. Since the 1970’s, Nozkowski has produced abstract paintings and drawings in which he experiments with a form, color, or gesture, and then reworks it repeatedly over time. My response to Nozokowski’s painting was well-founded. In a recent interview with Artspace, Nozkowski commented:
“There’s a painting in this show with some Matissean curvy shapes painted in a Matisse blue—that’s not an accident, it was a decision to draw upon that blue for that particular move.”
More than 60 paintings and drawings, most of them created in the last year, are on view at the gallery. One of the interesting aspects of Nozkowski’s art is the fact that he works on 16 x 20 inch canvases. In his Artspace interview he explained why he chose that size:
“…I decided I would paint at a size that was scaled to my friends’ apartments, that could hang in a three-room walkup tenement on 7thStreet. …Once I made that decision I discovered how easy it was to put an idea in the world, look at it, and then wipe it off and do something else if it’s no good. Suddenly, I could go through hundreds of ideas in the life of a painting. When I did large paintings like I did in art school, it could take days to change a color.”
The exhibit will be on view through April 25th. If you are going down to Chelsea, be sure to also see:
“Alice Neel Drawings and Watercolors 1927-1978 at David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street, on view through 4/18.
“In the Studio: Paintings” at Gagosian, 522 West 21st, on view through 4/18.