In recent years, the world of art has many historical combinations and group shows that feel unnatural.So I booked to go to the exhibition Jane Freiricher and Thomas Nozkowski: True Fiction Curated by Eric Brown at the Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation (November 5, 2021 – February 26, 2022). Eric Brown was an adviser to Freiricher’s house and a painter influenced by Nozkowski, so he also wondered about the motive behind the exhibition. But when I read Brown’s thoughtful essay “True Fictions,” especially the following paragraphs, my hesitations and doubts began to disappear.
This show is not about mutual influence. It’s not about personal connections or friendships. It’s not an intergenerational show, but older painters are influencing younger people. It also does not facilitate abstraction and division of expression. Rather, it breaks the distinction. The show isn’t gentle, but it’s vast and open-ended. My hope is that viewers will be able to see these works anew through each other’s lenses.
As Brown states, Freiricher and Noskovsky “meet only once.” I knew from Noskovsky that he liked Freiricher’s paintings and wrote a catalog essay for her show at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, which Brown co-directed for over 20 years. Noskovsky also wrote a homage to the Academy of Arts and Literature after his death in 2014.
He was greedy for seeing art and had an encyclopedia on a wide range of subjects, from movies to detective novels to music of all kinds, so he missed one of her exhibitions. It’s no surprise to know that it wasn’t. I’ve been exchanging emails with him every day, especially while working on his first monograph (2017), and until his death in 2019, but I knew something about his interests and passions.
I knew Freiricher and she encouraged me to contribute an essay to her first monograph (1986), but we never crossed the congressional nations. I know Nozkowski praised Freiricher’s paintings, but I don’t know what she thought of his work. Not always important. She liked him enough to reprint his essay in her second monograph (2004).
Of the 15 paintings in the exhibition, 8 are by Freiricher and 7 are by Nozkowski, all dated 1997-2012. Freiricher’s “Night” (oil on linen, 32 x 32 inches, 1997) is the greatest work. Nozkowski worked in three sizes: 16 x 20 inches, 22 x 28 inches, and 30 x 40 inches (I think I made less than a dozen in this last size). Although all of Freiricher’s paintings depict cityscapes, or “light blue above” (linen oil, 24 x 24 inches, 2003), fields and bodies of water, flowers set to show grass on the other side. Nozkowski, an abstract artist whose paintings have always been about personal experiences in the broadest sense. Many enthusiastic hikers may have been inspired by what he saw while walking in the Shawangank Mountains, which he began as a teenager.
I like that Brown didn’t contain too many paintings. Otherwise, I don’t think the juxtaposition of works of the same size by two artists of different generations will work. One is famous for the paintings of flowers placed in front of the cityscape, and the other is famous for his abstract paintings that reveal little of their inspiration. What I also found useful was that Brown did not select any of Noskovsky’s works that mentioned the night sky. If viewers searched for a common interest in this subject, I think the show was a disaster (Freiricher wasn’t interested in the night sky as part of what Noskovsky called an “abstraction of nature”. did).
Instead, you’ll see how each artist is involved in formal issues regarding short and long distances, people and the ground, and how to maintain both. Another concern that becomes apparent is creating a composition consisting of different parts, such as a group of flowers of different colors set against different colored ground, or a plain shape against collapsed or watery ground. Is to do. Neither artist’s work is dominant, so the tension and bond between the person and the ground attracts our interest.
In the best works of Freiricher’s exhibition, things that are unlikely happen. The flowers are at the tip between recognizable shapes and bursts of various brush-like colors. In Harmonic Convergence, bursts are set for cityscapes that flow into a patchwork of colors related to tones, which is a geometric abstraction. Frericher is best known for painting flowers, so when studying with Hans Hofmann, it’s good to remember the foundations of her formal acuity and abstraction. Over time, she became a brilliant and delicate colorist.
One of my favorite things about Noskovsky’s work is that he disagreed with a world dominated by Isaac Newton’s causal beliefs. He believed that the painting did not need to reveal its source, even if it was autobiographical in a sense. .. Another aspect is that, whatever the source, and certainly the mundane, he has always turned his experience into a self-contained abstract painting. Landscape paintings in the late Tang dynasty embody the longing to escape from the repetitive everyday world. This desire to remember its existence and go beyond the ordinary seems to be one of the motivations shared by Freiricher and Noskovsky. They belonged to different generations and found ways to accommodate different genres, but Abstract Expressionism for Freicher, Minimalism for Noskovsky, and post-easel paintings both tended to dominate. Refused to be part.
Each artist gave us a wonderful gift by reminding us that we can remain independent and do not have to do the “right” thing. As Barry Schwabski wrote about Noskovsky in his catalog essay, Freiricher and Noskovsky show us in different ways: [can become] How to enter the terrain of an unnamed person. You might get there sooner with Nozkowski’s paintings, but if you look at one of Freicher’s paintings long enough, the words begin to disappear. We enter a world of clear color sensations that are as mysterious and nutritious as sunlight.
Jane Freiricher and Thomas Nozkowski: True Fiction Continues until February 26, 2022 at the Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation (Eldridge Street 87, Manhattan). The exhibition was curated by Eric Brown.
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