A virtual exhibition of paired artworks
Artists Kyle Staver and Janice Nowinski, revered by painters and critics alike, have been friends for more than 30 years and have shared their passion for color and form. This exhibition celebrates their friendship and the parallels that have developed in their paintings. Together, they have paired their work so that we can see and appreciate some of the common themes in their content and the use of the abstract language of painting.
‘Pandemic California Dreaming’
Left, Kyle Staver, “Dolphins,” 2021, oil on canvas, 68” x 70”
Right, Janice Nowinski, “Guy with Surf Board,” 2020, oil on canvas, 30” x 22”
Left, Kyle Staver, “Susanna’s Hammock,” 2020, oil on canvas, 50” x 68”
Right, Janice Nowinski, “Red Hat,” 2020, oil on canvas, 18” x 14”
‘Adam and Eve’
Left, Kyle Staver, “Adam and Eve and the Goats,” 2016, oil on canvas, 54” x 64”
Right, Janice Nowinski, “Adam and Eve,” 2014, oil on canvas, 18” x 16”
Left, Janice Nowinski, “Upside Down Nude,” 2019, oil on canvas, 18” x 14”
Right, Kyle Staver, “Leda and the Swan,” 2015, oil on canvas, 43” x 36”
Left, Kyle Staver, “Giblin Girls,” 2004, oil on canvas, 72” x 48”
Right, Janice Nowinski, “Pink Bathing Suit 1,” 2013, oil on canvas, 16” x 12”
Left, Kyle Staver, “Tari’s Shoes,” 2007, oil on canvas, 54” x 64’
Right, Janice Nowinski, “Woman Dressing in Front of a Mirror,” 2016, oil on linen, 20” x 16”
Left, Janice Nowinski, “Seated Girl on Red Cloth,” 2011, oil on board, 16” x 12”
Right, Kyle Staver, “Ginger Cat,” 2002, oil on canvas, 64” x 54”
‘Horse of Course’
Left, Kyle Staver, “Study for Godiva,” 2009, etching, 5” x 7”
Right, Janice Nowinski, “White Horse,” 2016, oil on canvas, 11” x 14”
Kyle Staver and Janice Nowinski, two of the most dynamic and compelling women artists of their generation, share how their friendship has influenced their work:
1985. We met in grad school. The crits there were murder and soul sucking. Neither of us was making paintings that were considered “cutting edge.” Jan planted in front of her still lifes, in love with Cezanne and Hopper, choosing to ignore the contradictions inherent in such a pairing. Kyle, madly pursuing Arcadian Frolics, in love with her own set of contradictions. Perhaps it was the quixotic nature of our pursuits that set our friendship on its feet.
After school, we ended up in Brooklyn. The first studio visits were not successful. Yale had been a huge proponent of the “Gain through Pain” method of dialogue. This left us without a clue about how to speak to each other without wounding, shaming or thwarting. Through trial and error — a lot of error — we began to build trust and history. We learned to make a place that was safe to expose our most intimate and fledgling ideas. We taught each other how to listen and trust. It is not common to have another artist so intimately involved in the day-to-day workings of Making; rather, it is an extraordinary luxury and gift.
At an opening a few years back, a woman came up and said she really admired our friendship, said she was going to find a friend like that.
Ha! Our friendship was not found — it was built, and it is rare.
While we were putting together the pairings for this project, we were surprised by how much the paintings have in common. Not sure why we would be surprised. Every conversation we have is about our work, what we are looking at or where our next road trip to see paintings will be.
Some years back we made a plan to meet at the Brooklyn Museum. When we met up, we were both wearing matching African Mud Hats. While we were having a terse conversation about the inadvisability of wearing matching hats at the museum, a woman walked by and said, “Nice hats.”
We acknowledge and celebrate that our work is influenced by our friendship.
Originally from Minnesota, Kyle Staver settled in New York following graduate studies at Yale University. The recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2015) and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Prize (2015), Staver was also recognized as a distinguished member of the National Academy of New York. Her work has been exhibited at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the National Academy, Fordham University and Haverford College. She received her BFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and, a decade later, received her MFA in Painting from Yale University’s College of Art. Visit her on the web at kylestaver.com.
Janice Nowinski was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Rockaway Park. She received her MFA in Painting from Yale University. She has exhibited at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Academy Museum, American University Museum, John Davis Gallery, Zurcher Gallery, Leigh Morse Fine Arts, Steven Harvey Fine Arts Projects, Kent Fine Arts, Lohin Geduld and Schweitzer Contemporary. She is the recipient of a purchase prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has been featured and reviewed in the Hudson Review, the New Criterion, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post and American Artist. Nowinski lives and paints in Brooklyn, N.Y. Visit her on the web at janicenowinski.com.