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,” comments Marc 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 openly states 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.