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United States of America born 1941

Untitled 1967-68 Description: 4 pieces
Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint, lacquer and pigments on fibreglass panels

Primary Insc: No inscriptions
Dimensions: 120.0 h x 210.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1973
Accession No: NGA 74.403.A-D
Image rights: Courtesy of Artists Rights Society and the artist.
  • with Bykert Gallery, New York, 1969-73;
  • from whom bought by the Acquisitions Committee of the Australian National Gallery, November 1973

The large painted wall panels which Novros made in the 1960s were prompted by the desire to create works that would have an architectural impact.

Pretty much all my work in the '60s was made to respond to wall painting. But because of the problems of getting the pieces of real estate to make it on, I had to find other ways of approaching the question of wall painting for myself. So I made these objects which interacted with the wall in a certain way, and which were portable and could be reassembled under certain correct circumstances to fulfill the functions of wall painting.1

From 1968 Novros worked in fibreglass panels that were fabricated in Los Angeles and painted in his New York studio. Fibreglass was used to overcome the problems the artist encountered when he used the technique of spraying acrylic lacquer and pigments on the surfaces of fabric panels of canvas or dacron. Both materials proved overly-absorbent. In the case of the Gallery's painting, Novros sprayed the fibreglass panels with 'Murano' and lacquer:

'Murano' is the brand name of a nacreous pigment which I mixed in clear lacquer and sprayed over either white or coloured grounds during the sixties and early seventies. This pigment disbursed [sic] itself in platelets which produced a reflection as well as a refraction 'color' depending on the angle of vision and light conditions.

The fibreglass paintings such as the one in Canberra were made in the late sixties using a mould (right angle and rectangle) and the fibreglass was sprayed in the way that boat and car bodies are manufactured. I developed this technique to make a 'thin' support and to better approximate a kind of wall painting.2

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.374.

  1. Maurice Poirier and Jane Necol, 'The '60s in Abstract: 13 Statements and an Essay', Art in America, vol. 71, no. 9, October 1983, pp.122-37, p.135.
  2. David Novros, correspondence with the Gallery, 18 April 1986.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra