Video of Rodrigo Nava's "Column Form Expansion". 13 Seconds with explosive sound.
VISIBLE FORCE SERIES
Seen every day in structural forms, steel hides its own materiality behind a symbol of strength. Nava’s VISIBLE FORCE, at one time constructed and visually solid objects, hold within them the moment of ignition – the very process that bloated and altered one of our most familiar materials. Nava’s work turns our common read of steel into one quite foreign – the marks and wrinkles of inflation convince us that this is a soft object, yet the common familiarity with this material tells us this shouldn’t be so.
This contradiction brings with it a unique breed of authenticity. While defying common perceptions of an everyday material, these expanded forms extract a true vulnerability of steel. These bloated forms, once drafted, formed and welded by hand – are in one moment altered integrally from a designed and crisp steel unit to a bloated, wrinkled and puckered plastic form, reminiscent of helium balloons or dirigibles. In this, truth is a felt contradiction. The visual weight of steel is confused with the buoyancy of something inflated, lighter than air.
From the explosive technique of his Split & Rebound series, where hand carved stone was destroyed then sutured back to its original form, to earlier hydro-formed expansions created by high pressure water – Rodrigo Nava’s work creates a narrative of conversation between artist and process. Each sculpture exists as a visual embodiment of the exact moment when the work left the artist’s hand and became altered by the artist’s process.
My work is rooted in a continual exploration of sculptural form as well as a commitment to process-oriented art. My most recent series consists of large closed steel forms that are expanded using a controlled explosion. This series is the result of a persistent need to continue the dialogue of contemporary sculpture. In order to do this, I have developed a unique and new process that allows me to create nonrepresentational sculptures that are the pure authentic result of the relationship between material, process, artists and viewer. These are not sculpture fabricated to look like they are "inflated". It is the process that gives volume to the object and creates the sculpture. When I expand my work, I am attempting to dismantle my tie to an object by allowing it to become its own object. These are the remnants of a real experience.
The newest forms in this series are reaching an architectural scale in their relationship to the landscape and viewer. Considerable research and development at each stage of this series has been required to perfect this expansion process. With the help engineer Robert Chave; formerly of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab; I have been able to jump the logistical hurdles required to develop this unique sculptural work. The most recent development has been the ability to make the work in a flat state, allowing the final expansion process to transform the work from two dimensions into three. I have made and documented the process of well over fifty of these sculptures in varying sizes. I am currently developing controlled expansions using black Powder that will allow the creation of the work to be experienced safely by an audience. The two-dimension into three-dimension transformation has the added advantage for the work to be shipped flat; reducing the energy and cost of this stage of engaging in the creation of monumental work. These sculptures and their accompanying process videos have been shown and well received throughout the east coast.
Rodrigo Nava (b. 1978, Mexico City) is a Mexican/American Artist whose sculpture explores the relationship between material and process. His most recent series consists of large closed steel forms that are expanded using a controlled explosion. This unique proprietary process allows him to create non-representational sculptures that are the pure authentic result of the relationship between material, process, artists and viewer.
The American University of Paris, France
2016 FUERZAS VISIBLES, Peligro Amarillo Gallery/Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico
2015 COLLAGRAPHS FOR SCULPTURE, CX Silver Gallery, Brattleboro VT
2015 EXPANDED FORMS, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Brattleboro, VT
2013 VISIBLE FORCE, Yellow Peril Gallery, Providence, RI
2012 NEW PRINTS, Colo Colo Gallery, New Bedford, MA
EXPANDED FORMS Catherine Dianich Gallery, Brattleboro, Vt
2011 EXPANSIONS Partners & Spade, New York, NY
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2017 Exposed, Helen Day Art Center, Stowe VT
2016 Michael S. Currier Gallery and Art Center, Putney, VT
2015 Vermont Arts Council, Montpelier, VT
2015 Exposed, Helen Day Art Center, Stowe VT
2015 Catherine Dianich Gallery, Brattleboro, VT
2014 Michael S. Currier Gallery and Art Center, Putney, VT.
2014 New Bedford Art Museum, New Bedford, MA
2013 LightSpace, Brooklyn, NY 2012 Yellow Peril Gallery, Providence, RI 2011
Catherine Dianich Gallery, Brattleboro, VT
2009 Sears Peyton Gallery, New York, NY
2008 Catherine Dianich Gallery, Brattleboro, VT
Michael S. Currier Gallery and Art Center, Putney, VT.
Catherine Dianich Gallery, Brattleboro, VT
2016 Satellite Art Show, Miami, FL (forthcoming)
Governors Island Art Fair, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NY, NY Portal Art Fair, Federal Hall, NY, NY
2015 Governors Island Art Fair, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, NY Art Hamptons, Long Island, NY
2014 Scope New York, NY
2013 Governors Island Art Fair, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NY, NY Scope Miami, FL
2019 Forthcoming, Montpelier Transit center, Montpelier, VT
2009 The Putney School, Putney, VT
2006 The Carving Studio & Sculpture Center, Rutland, VT
2004 El Taller, Tepoztlán, Mexico
2014 Vermont Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts
2013 Vermont Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts
B. Amore “Brattleboro Museum and Art Center” Sculpture Magazine May 2015
Jonathan Wolfe “Sprawling Art Show in Brooklyn Bridge Park and on Governors Island”, NY Times, September 2015
Mcvay, Marcel, “Marcel Mcvay Interviews Rodrigo Nava”, Collect Magazine, June 2012
Volmer, Suzanne, “Rodrigo Nava: Metal Mania at Yellow Peril” ArtScope Magazine, July 2012
Authentic New York – “Partners & Spade” Pen with Attitude Magazine, JAPAN October 2011
Berg Family Collection, Miami, FL
De Ponton D'Amecourt Family Collection, Paris, France
Krugar Family Collection, Greenwich, CT The Putney School, Putney, VT