Exploring divergent production approaches and interlocking conceptual outputs, the current exhibition at Paul Cooper’s 26th street exhibition explores the work of Robert Grosvenor and David Novros, exploring the pair’s shared interests and many years of friendship. Grosvenor, a sculptor, and Novros, a painter, met as members of the artists’ cooperative and gallery Park Place, a hotbed of avant-garde art in the 1960s. Contemporaries and mutual admirers of each other’s work, their shared sensitivity to architectural space and approach towards particular conditions for viewing art make for a unique show plan.
This shared sense of art’s interaction with physical space especially informs Novros’ fresco work and Grosvenor’s multi-part sculptures made of elements placed in relationship to each other. Both approach color and form as modular aspects of the work, applying blocks of color and carefully studied tones to each of their pieces. For Novros, this results in canvases defined by a grid detuned through his gently curving blocks of color. His watercolors from the 1970s to 2020, presented alongside intimate works and sketches contained in notebooks, as well as a large, multi-paneled painting from 1971, draw together a range of spaces and studies in how the line and the spaces it bounds can be orchestrated into shifting harmonies. Accompanying these works are designs for frescos, murals, stained-glass windows, and other site-specific works. Together, these materials begin to communicate Novros’s dedication to creating a permanent relationship between an artwork and a space by painting in place.
Grosvenor’s four recent works on view reveal a similar interest in bold color, texture and the intimation of movement. Three floor-bound works allude to vehicular shapes and aerodynamism while also disallowing any simple figurative reading. They are accompanied by a wall sculpture that uses language as material, forming visual poetry from two rows of hand-painted letters. A suite of collages serve as studies for Grosvenor’s sculpture by situating similar forms in everyday surroundings. In each, the sense of form is defined by stark delineations of space and color by element, each detail accented by its relation to the rest. This sense, found throughout the artist’s work here, as well as that of Novros’s, is a fascinating entry in the continued conversation of their generation.
The show closes April 3rd.
– J. Shrines
Paula Cooper: Robert Grosvenor and David Novros [Exhibition Site]