It’s been something of a blitz of work since Robert Nava joined Pace Gallery last year, with the artist now marking his second show in as many years with gallery out at its East Hampton outpost. The artist, presenting new work created this year, continues a body of work the explores his outlandish assemblages of bodies in space, creating bizarre visual mandalas designed to both immerse and confront the viewer.
Nava’s fascination with drawing of late seems to have grown into a major pillar of his artistic practice, culling imagery and ideas from the cartoon and cereal box characters he sketched as a child. Constantly drawing in his sketchbook, his work mines nostalgia and impulse as modes through which to access the immediate and the direct, turning his work towards more intuitive, brusque modes of working. Turning the line into an operator as bent on deconstructing as re-creating familiar forms, his imaginative and eccentric works explore notions of reality and fantasy, often feature hybrid beings rendered in vibrant colors. Taking inspiration from prehistoric cave paintings, ancient Egyptian art, Art Brut, contemporary cartoons, and other varied sources, the artist imbues his drawings with movement and energy.
Nava’s unconventional, frenetic style and distinct visual lexicon, through which he forges fantastical new worlds on paper, are on full view in Pace’s East Hampton exhibition. The works here are swirling masses of the familiar and the foreign, some presenting as mandalas filled with bodies and animals, familiar forms and cartoonish visages, adding up to a haunting final form, while others show nightmarish fusions of creatures and machines. Nava’s sense of the childish combined with his own studies into the nature of nightmares and dreams makes for a fascinating fusion of the two.
The show closes August 29th.
– D. Creahan
Robert Nava at Pace [Exhibition Site]