April 1, 2011

Proximity: Thomas Nozkowski and Joyce Robins

“Artists who live together will always affect each other’s work--hard for us to imagine anything else. To have another consciousness, one that you trust, at close hand is always to be desired: a check on self-delusion for sure, and maybe even a goad forward.”

--Thomas Nozkowski

Joyce Robins, "The Vly," 1975, oil on canvas, 48" x 60" (Click to enlarge)

Thomas Nozkowski,Untilted (8-129), 2010, oil on linen on panel, 22" x 28." This beauty was hung right by the door. I wondered if anyone would notice if it went missing. Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Joyce Robins, Untitled, 2011, clay, glaze, paint. Installation on floor.

"Mutual Regards: Joyce Robins and Thomas Nozkowski," an excellent, if small, show at Columbia University, featured a selection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, an installation and video, created individually by the artists, who have been together for more than four decades. An ongoing dialogue is evident in the aesthetic and experiential (rather than conceptual) approach they've engaged since the mid-1970s. Their close working relationship has stimulated exchanges of materials and process, too: Robins’s transition from large-scale paintings and small, painted and glazed ceramic sculptures, and Nozkowski’s move from mixed-media sculptures to paintings. Nozkowski and Robins hold invention and intuition in high regard--two undervalued "strategies" these days, except, of course, among the painting contingent. "Intuition is strong in the beginning of the process," Robins says. "I try to think 'visually,' and avoid any kind of narrative impulse in my use of the world. I understand the connections only after completing a sculpture."

Fascinating video of Robins assembling a ceramic installation. Her process is entirely painterly.

Joyce Robins and Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled collaboration, 1980, oil on canvasboard, 19.5 x 23.5."

Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled, 1974, cloth, reed, steel shot, 16 x 20." Displayed on the floor. (Worth clicking to enlarge)

Joyce Robins, "Gray Rectangle," 2011, clay, glaze, paint, 7.5 x 11.5." This gem isn't in the show. I found the image on Robins's website.

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