Robert Nava - Modern & Contemporary Art: Evening & Day Sale London Thursday, June 27, 2024 | Phillips
  • “Nava’s energy and the slow reveal of looking, his thinking in paint, are nothing less than a new vision, a new freedom.”
    —Mark Beasley

    Caught mid-flight, thrusters ablaze and gathering speed in a black void, in T-LC1 American artist Robert Nava presents us with an inventive, futuristic character, creating modern mythologies imbued with momentum and action. With an urban aesthetic and gestural immediacy, the New-York based artist works outside the aesthetic and methodological parameters of his formal training. Instead, Nava’s approach is more intuitive, embracing error and irregularity to engage with material ranging from ancient sculpture, horror films to the popular culture of his youth.


    Working with the pulsating pace and energy of techno or house music that fills his studio, Nava currently lives and works in Brooklyn. Born in 1985 and raised in East Chicago, Indiana, his father was a steelworker, working as a craneman while his mother was a receptionist who encouraged Nava’s drawing by bringing home computer paper from the office. Graduating with a BFA at Indiana University Northwest in 2008, to bolster his graduate school application Nava continued for an extra term while working three jobs to support his tuition. It was during his MFA at Yale on the East Coast that Nava encountered new approaches like artist Peter Halley: for Nava discussing art with the Neo-Conceptualist painter was ‘like taking with a Jedi’.i


    After his time at Yale, for eight years Nava drove trucks and moved furniture to support his creative practice in New York. Ferociously engaging with art at any free moment, Nava explains ‘during my time off I would paint for a nine-day stretch in the middle of the month’.ii Influenced by the gusto and verve of Philip Guston and Cy Twombly, this primal, raw energy and unconscious mode of mark-making pervades in T-LCI as Nava mechanises acrylic, oilstick, and graphite on canvas to generate new icons for our contemporary moment. 



    Collector’s Digest


    • First exhibited in 2019 as part of Robert Nava's inaugural exhibition with Night Gallery in Los Angeles, T-LC1 demonstrates the unbridled imagination and stylistic flair inherent to the artist's practice. 
    • Nava's work has been exhibited internationally in a range of solo exhibitions, including at Sorry We're Closed, Brussels (2020); Vito Schnabel Gallery, New York (2021); and Pace, Seoul (2023). 
    • Now represented by Pace, examples of Nava's work are located in significant public collections internationally, including the Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. 



    i Robert Nava, quoted in Mark Beasley, ‘Here There Be Monsters’, Robert Nava: Thunderbolt Disco, exh. cat., Pace Gallery, London, 2022, p. 10.

    ii Robert Nava, quoted in Huma Bhabha, ‘Robert Nava and Huma Bhabha in Conversation’, Robert Nava: Thunderbolt Disco, exh. cat., Pace Gallery, London, 2022, p. 73.

    • Provenance

      Night Gallery, Los Angeles
      Maddox Gallery, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2021

    • Exhibited

      Los Angeles, Night Gallery, Robert Nava: Vs, 20 July–17 August 2019

    • Artist Biography

      Robert Nava

      Robert Nava (b. 1985) is a contemporary artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Using a rough and
      free-flowing hand, Nava recreates the innocent and unlearned art of childhood. His works are
      “carefully done wrong,” subverting the rigid fundamentals of painting and conventions of
      completeness that Nava learned as an MFA student at Yale University. Nava’s paintings often
      feature imagined mythological figures and histories of the artist’s creation whose drama is
      brought to life with the frenetic energy of the artist’s brush. 

      View More Works

Property of a Private European Collector



signed, titled and dated 'T-LC1 Nava 19' on the reverse
acrylic, oilstick and graphite on canvas
213.3 x 183 cm (83 7/8 x 72 in.)
Executed in 2019.

Full Cataloguing

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £139,700

Contact Specialist

Louise Simpson
Associate Specialist
+44 7887 473 568

Modern & Contemporary Art: Evening & Day Sale

London Auction 27 June 2024