Fine Artist – New York to West Asheville
I met with Nava last Tuesday at her studio in West Asheville. I’ll admit that upon seeing her name, knowing she studied Russian literature and was a New Yorker, I pictured an eastern European intellectual ready to have a challenging debate on art. However, what I encountered was everybody’s favorite sister. Her open and comfortable attitude made art as easy to discuss as a baseball game or putting together a delicious sandwich. She really enjoys herself and the process of making her art. She takes her work seriously and is polished in her craft, but she makes it as comfortable as throwing on a favorite pair of jeans. It worked for me.
Before moving to Asheville, Nava found herself in the midst of a successful art career in New York. Having received a fellowship with a free studio program several years back she gained quick recognition as having developed a look and style all her own. Her modernist abstractions within the fine art world combined with the modern reinvention of hand-stitched crafts allow her to bridge audiences from fine arts, design and craft. If you go to her website you will see the quantity of shows and art publications she has been part of. Recently, she was published in a design magazine in Spain.
A few different things in the creation of her art drive Nava. She has a compulsion for saving and reusing things. She can’t allow waste. So, she allows these remnants and tossed aside pieces to be a starting point for creating something new. Nava, also, has a fascination with “the stain”. The history, the intended or accidental destruction it causes, the feminine symbolism and its ability to forever alter a place. Following that is our need to fix things. I’ll let Nava explain it; “My work explores the contradictions between the impulse to destroy and the compulsion to mend. I juxtapose rapid acts of destruction, such as spilling and cutting, with painstaking, restorative labor. Embroideries are hand-stitched over stains and rips, contrasting the accidental with the meticulous, constructing narrative from randomness and mistake. The initial marks are found on linens or are created by cutting and staining canvas. The work scrambles expressions of aggression with masochistic patience and sublimation and plays with the feminine through the graphic form of the “stain” and the adding of peek-a-boo, lace inlays to repair cut holes that expose the hidden space behind the canvas.
Nava moved to Asheville with her boyfriend over two years ago following some family members. Nava wanted fewer distractions to focus on work and, not afraid to get her hands dirty, she wanted a garden to grow her own food. Life here is an experiment for them. We are lucky to have her here as part of the greater community of art.
Nava will be having a new show located at Krug Creative sometime in March. I’ll be sure to keep update you when they have a date. It is a fun space and a great colaboration between Emily Krug and Nava.
(text by Troy Winterrowd, photos by Nava Lubelski and Troy)