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Artist FlashCards: The Morbidly Playful Robert Nava

Choko Round Two is On Me

Each week Bushwick Daily brings you a new Artist FlashCard introducing an amazing artist living/working/showing in Bushwick who you need to know. Featuring both new and old faces, our goal is to encourage the growth of art scene and to appreciate wonderful talent in our hood! If you know of an artist you would like to suggest for Artist FlashCards, please fill out our online form.

Who: Robert Nava

Where: You can usually find Robert working in his studio at 75 Stewart Ave in Bushwick.

What: Raw, and often shrewd paintings and drawings that toe the line between the unwittingly comical and brutally profound, while pushing the boundary of seriousness and absurdity.

Where you’ve seen his work: Robert work was featured in Transitions V. 1 at Associated Gallery this past fall and you can catch his work right now through April 30 at "389 Bushwick Ave" curated by Fabio Roca (for more information and to schedule an appointment, contact him at  fabioalvinoroca@gmail.com  ). While not yet official, be sure to look out for his work in his shared studio space at 75 Stewart Ave, which I'm told might be listed as Mean Gallery for BOS 2014.

Why we're into it: Robert's work constantly oscillates between an incredibly unrefined aesthetic and astuteness, often juxtaposing a cartoon-like image with the simple candidness of real experience. While this is something we see in other artists that embrace the naive and sometimes misinterpreted "childlike" aesthetic of artists like Jim Nutt and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert's work adds another element, adding to the discourse. Stemming from a different impulse, Robert's work is both informed by a deep understanding of his artistic predecessors and embraces the edifice of the art object, acknowledging both its limitations and its true strengths as a way to convey a message.

Often employing jabs and pokes with his succinct quips like "U Lose! Carl Miller!" and personal subject in a work like "Round Two is on Me" involving a crocodile and a man, possess a deeply personal and autobiographical sentiment.  As he so aptly puts it, "I love making playful drawings and paintings that push seriousness into absurdity... The work is often driven from everyday events balancing off of randomness and synchronicity." Never completely sincere nor easily deciphered, Robert's morbidly humorous pieces leaves us with a laugh and a question mark.

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