Robert Nava was born in 1985 in East Chicago, IN. He received his BA in Fine Art from Indiana University Northwest in 2008, and his MFA in Painting from Yale University School of Art in 2011.
Known for his vibrant and mischievous approach to figuration, Nava’s creatures pulsate in electric colors within the frames of his large-scale paintings. Deceptively spontaneous, these images – heroes in battle brandishing their swords, beasts breathing fire, chariots roaring toward lightness or darkness – are developed in a rigorous process of sketching, then painstakingly committed to canvas through a variety of layered techniques calculated to subvert any sense of planning and structure. Nava’s ‘carefully done wrong’ works, executed in acrylic, grease pencil, and spray paint, are gleeful celebrations of color, line, and pop medieval references; they are likewise meticulous exercises in balance and opposition. Within the boundaries of a single painting or between multiple works spread across his studio floor, forces of rivalry and conflict erupt and dissolve not only among the depicted figures, but the modes of depiction themselves.
Nava’s distinctive visual language is highly personal. It is culled from a myriad of sources that range from ancient Sumerian, Egyptian, and Mayan art, and prehistoric cave paintings, to the powerfully symbolic mandala and such tropes of popular culture as gaming imagery and fantasy genre movies.
Solo exhibitions of Nava’s work have been presented at Vito Schnabel Gallery, New York; Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Sorry We’re Closed, Brussels, Belgium; Pace Gallery, Palm Beach, FL; and V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark. Nava’s work has been included in group exhibitions at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Carl Kostyal, Malmö, Sweden; and Safe Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, among others. Nava’s work is included in the permanent collections of The Art Institute of Chicago and the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami.
Nava lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.