Blue Ghost, 2019.
New York–based artist Robert Nava has joined Pace Gallery’s artist roster. Nava’s first presentation with the gallery will take place at Art Basel Miami Beach, which opens virtually tomorrow, December 1st. His first solo exhibition will take place shortly after the fair, opening in January 2021 at the gallery’s new Palm Beach space. Nava will continue to be represented by Vito Schnabel Gallery in Switzerland, Night Gallery in Los Angeles, and Sorry We’re Closed in Brussels.
Nava is best known for his raw figurative style, which combines spray paint, acrylics, and grease pencil into depictions of mythical creatures that lie somewhere between hieroglyph and notebook sketch. Nava has said that he identifies with painters that are considered “bad” by academic standards, placing himself in the lineage of the French painter and Art brut pioneer Jean Dubuffet.
Marc Glimcher, president and CEO of Pace, said in a statement:
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.
Nava was recently identified as one of eight artists with breakout auction moments this past fall, with bids consistently skyrocketing past high estimates. According to Artsy data, interest in Nava’s work has grown significantly in recent years; 2019 saw astronomical growth in inquiries on his work, which is partly explained by a more than threefold increase in the number of his works uploaded to the platform that year compared to 2018, as well as broader market trends. This year, while the number of Nava works uploaded to Artsy has dropped by more than half, the number of inquiries has continued to grow and is up 67% year over year.
Further Reading: 8 Artists Who Had Breakout Moments at Auction This Fall