Joyce Kozloff's compositions rely on colorful, intricate ornamental patterns arranged in subtle and complex relationships. She works in both abstract and representational idioms, incorporating motifs from diverse cultures and imagery from the history of art into lively decorative compositions that evoke a range of associations. Born in Somerville, New Jersey, Kozloff studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh and received her graduate degree in fine arts in 1967 from Columbia University. At that time, minimalism was ascendant, and her early works are refined geometric abstractions. Her increasing interest in the cultural significance and aesthetic potential of ornamental pattern led her away from spare formalism. Her mature work reinterprets and transforms themes and references from the world's art into works that are resonant with cultural and feminist overtones. In addition to her paintings and prints, she has received numerous public commissions, creating, for example, a ceramic wall for the Harvard Square subway station, and devising decorative programs for railway stations and airports in many American cities.
[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]