New York

David Novros

Sequence in David Novros’s paintings is the traditional one of pictorial ordering, of the balancing of relationships from color to color and shape to shape across the canvas. His progressions derive from correspondences of one to one instead of additions of one plus one. Although his forms bear an architectonic relation to each other, the organization is more the weighing of one part against another within a whole than the building of a whole through systematic succession. His paintings function primarily as closed systems within which one’s eye travels through permutations and repetitions of tones and placement without reference to the fact of its perception as an activity on the outside looking in. Even in the large canvases formingthe single work which filled the room in his uptown show, one was not directly involved with the actual space taken up by depiction. Despite the congruent hanging of the paintings, one tended to focus on each wall separately rather than on any relationships in between, which might lead one through the room. Perhaps this seems an imposition of a certain way of looking which has nothing to do with Novros’s intentions. And yet there are the actual divisions of Novros’s canvases as literal pieces which fit together to form a whole. One senses that a color’s real weight, in terms of area occupied, differs from its perceptual one, so that a physically smaller panel of one set of relationships might be the visual equivalent of a larger one. In this respect, increased size is more a disadvantage than an advantage. Areas become quite simply large as one loses the tangibility of body scale. The cut divisions become more optical than measurable and one falls back on the internal self-referentiality of the paintings. With Novros’s smaller works, though, one does begin to juggle proportionately with one’s hands as well as one’s eyes. The cuts articulate equivalents between the inside and the out. Although the complexity of the internal drawing predominates and immerses one in pictorial allusions, the actual divisions of the panels serve as nudging reminders of extent. The visual act of balancing refers outward to the measure of its surface.

Susan Heinemann