Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present a solo exhibition of historic work by Los Angeles-born, New York-based artist David Novros. This will be the first exhibition of the artist with the gallery and his first in Los Angeles in three decades. On view will be a selection of works conceived of in the 1960s—including paintings exhibited in his first solo shows at Dwan Gallery and Park Place Gallery (both 1966).
David Novros’ early works consist of a series of modular panels, often painted with Murano—a pigment that reflects and refracts light to create a color-shifting quality. Depending on the position of the viewer, the panels appear to change from white to shades of either pink, green, blue, or yellow. For the artist, this material effect engaged his interest in making work that revealed itself in relation to the viewers’ movements through time and space. The refraction of light and its translation to the gallery walls further explored Novros’ interest in creating a whole environment that his works could embody. For his first solo exhibitions in Los Angeles and New York, both at Dwan Gallery, Novros exhibited a series of these works that he viewed as a larger whole—works that he saw as not only having a sense of unity, but a matter of poetry in how one experienced them. Through his use of shaped canvases and sharp right angles, Novros began exploring the expressive qualities of negative space and its role in relation to the work. His paintings require the viewer to engage with them. As Novros himself said, “[you have a] kind of kinesthetic experience, [you’re] not simply standing in front of a rectangle waiting for it to do something to you.”
In Untitled (1966-67) Novros experimented with painting on Dacron, a synthetic material most commonly used for the production of sails. His use of materials led many critics to assume Novros was making a shift to sculpture, similar to other artists during that time such as Eva Hesse and Craig Kauffman. However, Novros’ interests aligned more closely with creating art that exceeded the limitations of traditional painting. Following his studies at the University of Southern California (USC), Novros traveled to Europe where he was first introduced to fresco paintings. The experience left a lasting impression on the artist, as he viewed those works as having created a whole environment—a sentiment that he has pushed for his own works to achieve. In 1969 Novros was commissioned by Donald Judd to paint his first in situ fresco on the second floor of Judd’s home at 101 Spring Street in New York. Novros’ interests in wall paintings and murals were matched perfectly with Judd’s predilection for site-specificity. As further commissions for murals came to Novros, his style gradually began to shift and grow. Hard edges and angles were now being used in tandem with softer curves and slanting lines that meant to mimic the shafts of light that would inherently cut through his compositions. Progressing from there, Novros also designed structures that merged painting and architecture. Whether working on canvas or on walls, Novros’ work is often informed by and in response to the architecture of the spaces that they inhabit. As he stated in his oral history interview with Michael Brennan for the Archive of American Arts, “what I do is just a kind of shelter for paintings…I [think] of it as a shell, and the simpler the shell… the happier I am.”
David Novros was born in 1941 in Los Angeles, CA and received a BFA from the University of Southern California in 1963. His work was first exhibited as part of a two-person exhibition with Mark di Suvero at Park Place Gallery in New York in 1965, followed by two subsequent solo shows at Dwan Gallery in Los Angeles and New York in 1966. Other notable exhibitions include those at the Menil Collection, Houston; Museum Wiesbaden, Germany; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Bremen Museum of Modern Art in Germany, among others. Novros currently lives and works in New York, NY.