PRINT May 1981

Pressing On: Thomas Nozkowski’s Paintings

The whole visible universe is just a storehouse of images and signs to which the imagination will give a relative place and value, a sort of fodder which the imagination must digest and transform.

—Charles Baudelaire1

TO BE “PAINTING AGAIN,” in the Talking Heads’ song “Artists Only,” involves “cleaning” your “brain.” That is not equally apparent in all current manifestations. “Pattern and Decoration” offers the anesthetizing “easy list’nin’” of the music piped into dentists’ offices. So-called “New Image” painting, misappropriating a term once applied to Abstract Expressionism,2 conveys the cuteness and bad-boyism of Country and Western of the honkier type. But serious new painting goes on, as ever, for the benefit of those who care for more, not less, than entertainment. It is no secret that my own interests center on, let’s say, high modernity. The painting of Thomas Nozkowski interests

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