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Paintings for Friends’ Apartments 


I remember when I saw the works by Nozkowski for the first time. I didn’t really like them. But that's how it goes with the things you truly love - first you hate them, then you admire them deeply. And that’s my story with Thomas Nozkowski. My friend, an artist, and professor introduced me to Nozkowski’s work once, “You should look at Thomas Nozkowski, I can see a lot of overlap with your ideas in his work.” And I looked. But as a young painter who is at the beginning of his undergraduate degree you don’t really look, you just react to the visual form that the other paintings take. And visually his paintings weren’t aesthetically appealing to me. I looked, and I forgot. 


Then, as time passed, I actually looked. I didn’t know you could do that in painting. Every individual painting is divergent and yet it is Nozkowski. The paintings are so ambiguous but with a concrete story at the same time. And “at the same time” is the key combination of words. They are funny and serious, deskilled and academically trained, very personal and distant, organic and geometric, strange and normal, adventurous and prudent, minimal and super packed. They are about what you know and what you don’t know. And Nozkowski is honest with the viewer of his paintings, he never lies to you and has the courage to do so. 


Nozkowski’s paintings are not just paintings - three-dimensional things that hang on the wall. Nozkowski’s paintings are Painting - the study of higher dimensions and search for intellectual truth. This explains why he abandoned the large-scale canvases in favor of what would be known as the “Nozkowski’s size” - 16 x 20 and 22 x 28 inch canvas boards. The intellectual rigor of his paintings can never be corrupted by market expectations. The higher dimensions can never be found in the commodification of an object. As well, the new ideas that will lead you to these discoveries only can be found through the stylistic inconsistency that Nozkowski suppresses consciously in order to find the aforementioned things. 

Alex Vlasov

September 2022

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Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (9-22), Oil on linen on panel, 2012

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Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled, Oil on canvas board, 1981-82

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