Mutual Regards: Joyce Robins and Thomas Nozkowski at LeRoy Neiman Gallery

Bookmark and Share
  • Mutual Regards
1 of 3
Mutual Regards
LeRoy Neiman Gallery
Columbia University
School of the Arts
310 Dodge Hall
2960 Broadway
(at 116th Street),
(212) 854-7641
Hours: Mon - Fri, 9am to 5pm
Gallery Homepage
Mutual Regards: Joyce Robins and Thomas Nozkowski
Curated by Phong Bui and Linnea Kniaz

Opening reception: Friday, March 11, 6-8 pm
Exhibition dates: March 1-28

LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University School of the Arts
310 Dodge Hall, 2960 Broadway (at 116th Street), (212) 854-7641
Gallery Hours: Mon - Fri 9am to 5pm

Mutual Regards: Joyce Robins and Thomas Nozkowski
offers a small selection of works including paintings, drawings, sculptures, an installation and video, created autonomously by the artists while working contiguously for more than four decades. The enduring dialogue between their bodies of work drove the two artists’ formal and conceptual influence over one another. By exposing this influence, Mutual Regards
explores their artistic evolution from the mid-1970s to the present. This expanse of time reveals that their profound kinship provoked an exchange of mediums: Robins’s transition from large-scale paintings and small, painted and glazed ceramic sculptures, and Nozkowski’s transition from mixed-media sculptures to paintings.

Regardless of medium, Joyce Robins’s abstract works intuitively explore form, space, color, and physicality. Her disregard of preconceived ideas fosters mystery and intricate density in the exhibited works. Sundry gray fragments proliferate into a gravel-like accumulation in an early painting, a brightly-colored, rectangular ceramic wall hanging unexpectedly stretches off the wall towards the viewer, and an installation of multi-colored ceramic slabs sit on the floor in inadvertent positions within a grid, which is then abandoned when Robins molds the ceramic fragments into amorphic compositions in the installation’s accompanying video. While emphasizing the surrounding space—layering shapes, enforcing shadows, and varying the surfaces on which she works—Robins’s painted, sculpted, or pushed-together non-representational forms defy set-standards, conventional shapes, and repetition. Cosmic hues and organic textures, such as the rutted and cracked surfaces of her ceramics, further suggest a liberated approach that embraces the natural effects of the firing process and the distinct conception of each work. Ultimately, the intuitively crafted abstractions examine the reality of nature’s multifaceted overload of sensory information.

Reality, or personal experience, also shapes the sentiment emanating from Thomas Nozkowski’s work. Echoing his wife, Nozkowski embraces improvisation as he responds to his realities by employing strategies that encourage invention.  The works on display, including an early mixed-media floor sculpture, a later oil painting on linen on panel, and 20 black and white, mixed-media drawings on Magnagni Pescia paper, demonstrate a formal effortlessness derived from discipline. Nozkowski’s determination to abandon convention directs him to bravely impede the logical and to make bold, drastic transformations in his work. When reworking each piece, a process that can persist for up to 15 years, Nozkowski cultivates formal qualities also found in Robins’s work—uncanny colors, inventive forms, and an acute synthesis of figure and ground. While he induces endless observation in the same manner as Robins, Nozkowski never forces extraneous ideas upon his works. If curious, however, he transfers promising, unpursued ideas from a painting to a drawing in order to learn from and follow paths not taken.

When characterizing the nature of this abiding influence upon one another, Nozkowski states, “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.” Evidently, while the artists’ perpetual influence on each other is inevitable, their works’ mutual affinity is also a desired advantage.  Unremitting proximity, and the resulting mutual regard, fuels Nozkowski and Robins’s ambitions, ultimately transcending mere influence by providing that which incites and nurtures their artistic endeavors.  

Joyce Robins and Thomas Nozkowski live and work in New York City and High Falls, New York.

Image credits:
Thomas Nozkowski
Untitled (N-54), 2010
ink, gouache and pencil on Magnagni Pescia paper
8-5/8" x 9-15/16" (21.9 cm x 25.2 cm)
© Thomas Nozkowski, courtesy The Pace Gallery
Photo by: Kerry Ryan McFate/ Courtesy The Pace Gallery

Joyce Robins
Long Bend, 2006
Clay, glaze, paint
8" x 14" x 4" (35.6 cm x 10.2 cm.)

Thomas Nozkowski (on poster)
Untitled, 1974
Cloth, reed, and steel shot
16" x 20" x 1/8" (irregular)
Photo by: Judy Linn

Joyce Robins (on poster)
The Vly, 1975
Oil on canvas
48" x 60"

LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University School of the Arts
310 Dodge Hall, 2960 Broadway (at 116th Street), (212) 854-7641
Gallery Hours: Mon - Fri, 9am to 5pm
Closed on Saturday and Sunday

For information on past exhibitions please visit:
The LeRoy Neiman Exhibition Archive



© 2017 Columbia University School of the Arts | 305 Dodge Hall, Mail Code 1808 | 2960 Broadway | New York, NY 10027 | (212) 854-2875 | EMAIL
Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.