Paula Cooper Shows David Novros’s Minimalist Paintings

The gallery is showing his work from the 1970s.

Installation view, David Novros Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, April 27 – June 2, 2017.

Paula Cooper Gallery is showing a selection of works by veteran New York artist David Novros. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery since 2009. The show features his works on paper and large-scale, multi-panel paintings from the 1970s.

Whilst his contemporaries, such as Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, and Donald Judd, used sculpture to explore minimalism, David Novros investigated similar themes with the medium of painting. Earning plaudits for his pioneering abstract shaped and modular canvasses, the artist used industrial paints and lacquers to create radiating and reflective surfaces.

Expressing his preoccupation with the concept of in situ, Novros sought to engage with the surroundings and context of his canvasses by assembling works consisting of an amalgamation of square and rectangular neutral colored panels, with some exposing the wall behind the paintings, thus creating physical negative space.

David Novros, Untitled (1970–71). Photo: courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery.

In fact, Novros often compares his work to “portable walls.” Though minimally executed, his technical approach recalls the tradition of Florentine frescoes. It comes as no surprise then that the artist cites Italian Renaissance art, Paleolithic cave paintings, and Byzantine mosaics as important influences to his body of work. In 1969, Judd commissioned Novros to paint his first in situ fresco on the second floor of his house on 101 Spring Street in Soho; a key work for the artist that remains on view at what is now the Judd Foundation headquarters.

Installation view, “David Novros” Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, April 27 – June 2, 2017.

“In ’65 I began painting multi-paneled portable murals,” Novros told Brooklyn Rail. “I wanted to paint on the wall, but I didn’t have any commissions, so I compensated with the modular work. In ’67 I began using a right angle form almost exclusively. It was for me very expressive,” he explained.

“David Novros” is on view at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, through June 2, 2017.


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