MAILED: Oct. 2, 2000
Starting Oct. 12, people will be able to view playful, fun and approachable abstract paintings, which is in contrast to the serious abstract art that has been around for most of the 20th century.
Continuing through Nov. 2, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Foster Gallery in the Haas Fine Arts Center will present an exhibit titled "Thomas Nozkowski: Drawings 1984-2000."
"The work of Nozkowski has proven to be fresh and exciting in a world where those terms have become unfamiliar," said senior art student Sara Black, Clayton. "The door to abstract has been once again opened with a warmth and depth so desired in the world of art."
Nozkowski is known for the intimate size of his paintings, most of which are done on 16-by-20-inch canvas board. All of his works are recollections of places he has been, but the viewer never would be able to tell that.
"The first time I saw his work in 1980 there was a kind of modesty of scale that took me back," said Steve Katrosits, chair of the art department and curator of the show. "They made me laugh because they were so unpretentious and seemed amateurish."
Nozkowski's works are difficult to predict and are always different. "I am always surprised and delighted," Katrosits said. "Every painting is a new invention. No one style runs through them."
In addition to the small size, Nozkowski's works display a sense of time.
"Nozkowski's works always show how he changed his mind about things," said Katrosits, explaining Nozkowski wasn't afraid to scratch things out, pour solvent on his work or even sandpaper the surface. "There is a sense of 'I wonder what would happen if I try this' in his work. Each piece is a history of how it was done."
He was not afraid to fail by trying unplanned things, so subsequently Nozkowski has this playfulness in his work that other abstract artists often have lost, Katrosits said, adding he thinks some artists find it hard to break out of a style and try things. "I hope Nozkowski's exhibit opens people up to other possibilities and brings a sense of curiosity and discovery to students."
This particular exhibit was curated by Sid Sachs for the University of the Arts in Pennsylvania before traveling to UW-Eau Claire. However, Nozkowski is represented by Max Protetch Gallery in New York, and his paintings can be found in many public collections, including The Addison Gallery of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and The Phillips Collection.
An opening reception for the exhibit will run from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 12 in the gallery.
Nozkowski will be on campus Oct. 19-20. He will give a public artist lecture at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, in Room 101 of the Haas Fine Arts Center. The Foster Gallery then will be open that night from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nozkowski will give another lecture from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20, in the Foster Gallery and will give individual student critiques in the afternoon.
Foster Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays and 1-4:30 p.m. weekends. For more information about gallery exhibits, call Foster Gallery director Tom Wagener at (715) 836-2328.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Oct. 4, 2000