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Photography by Matteo Mobilio © Robert Nava


Robert Nava Joins Pace Gallery

Monday, Nov 30, 2020

Pace Gallery is honored to announce its representation of New York-based artist Robert Nava. Driven by his desire to “make new myths” responsive to our times, Nava has created a chimerical world of metamorphic creatures, drawing inspiration from sources as disparate as prehistoric cave paintings, Egyptian art, and cartoons. Rendered through a raw, energetic mixing of spray paint, acrylics, and grease pencil, his large-scale paintings of fantastical beasts exude a playful candidness that defies the pretensions of high art and invites viewers to reconnect with the unbridled imagination of their childhoods. As exemplified by the gallery’s support of artists, such as Jean Dubuffet, Julian Schnabel, Kiki Smith, and Yoshitomo Nara, among others, Pace has been a staunch advocate of artists with a singular visual language that expands the possibilities of art. Nava’s bold and idiosyncratic approach to painting connects to this history while pushing his chosen medium forward.

The artist’s debut with Pace will take place during this year’s iteration of Art Basel Miami Beach, on view from December 1-6, 2020. Nava’s inaugural solo exhibition with Pace will follow shortly afterwards at the gallery’s newly opened seasonal exhibition space in Palm Beach, Florida in January 2021.

Nava will continue to work with Vito Schnabel Gallery (St. Moritz, Switzerland; New York, New York), Night Gallery (Los Angeles, California), and Sorry We’re Closed (Brussels, Belgium). Additional forthcoming exhibitions include a solo show with Vito Schnabel Gallery in February 2021.

Robert Nava, Water Heart Cat, 2020, Acrylic and grease pencil on canvas, 84" × 72" (213.4 cm × 182.9 cm)

Marc Glimcher, President & CEO, Pace Gallery, shares:

“Robert Nava’s work reveals a new contemporary mythology. His chimeric beasts, part children’s fantasy, part expressionistic composition, exploit the intersection of playful and threatening. Refined through obsessive drawing, Nava’s creatures come to life on canvas through his deftly naive applications of spray paint and oil markers. We are so excited that Robert is joining Pace, and we are looking forward to supporting his evolutionary process as an artist at the forefront of his generation.”

Roberta Nava comments:

“When I met with Marc and Arne we immediately went to Dubuffet. All my favorite painters can’t paint (by academic standards). I think my work follows a lineage or “team” of artists like Dubuffet. I am very excited to expand my career and vision alongside a legacy like Pace’s.”

Imagination and play are two vital places that can generate newness.

Robert Nava

To develop his uncompromisingly personal style, Nava first dispensed with the rules and conventional attitudes that he had learned while obtaining his MFA at Yale University—an attitude that aligns him with the irreverent “bad” painting first theorized in 1978 by the New Museum’s founding curator Marcia Tucker. Nonetheless, Nava’s hybrid monsters, which range from the dragon-like to the angelic, are thought-out composites that the artist continuously reworks in his sketchbooks. Drawing, in fact, constitutes the bedrock of his practice, a daily discipline of invention.

Often created to the vitalizing beat of techno music, his paintings conjure a realm awash in magic and possibility, where beings are always seemingly on the verge of transmogrification. Though offering viewers respite from the more cynical and dystopian aspects of today’s world, his paintings do not, however, veer into escapism. Violence and destruction are continuously implied by the ferocity of his depicted animals and the iconoclastic nature of his graffiti-like markings, which build on the gesturalism of Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His work thus reacquaints viewers with an almost childlike capacity for fantasy and creativity, while offering a meditation on the loss of innocence and its recuperation.

Learn More About Robert Nava

  • News — Robert Nava Joins Pace Gallery, Nov 30, 2020