October 22, 2017


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Lot 354: Jedd Novatt

Lot 354: Jedd Novatt

Untitled (Over the Hill and Far Away)

Mixed-media on paper
Signed lower left corner of sheet; inscribed "For: Art Brody" lower left
Composition/sheet: 24" x 59"; Frame: 29.75" x 65"; (Composition/sheet: 61 x 150 cm)
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $1,250
Inventory Id: 26354

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Jedd Novatt (b. 1958) is best known for his bronze and steel architectural "Chaos" sculptures comprised of interlocking, open-frame metal cubes precariously stacked high on top of one another. Based in Paris, his work explores the relationships between volume, scale, structure, balance, and gravity, and the ways in which each of these establish a sense of space in the individual mind. Recognizing that "non-representational works are more difficult to access" than more figurative works of art, Novatt elegantly manipulates key tropes of minimalism while pushing that idiom beyond its static and reflexive dimensions with a unique gestural approach to scale and form.

"A sculpture is never the same each time we look at it because our moods, emotional state, and intellectual development evolve, which alter our perspective," the artist noted. This is particularly the case in the presence of Novatt,s seemingly precarious sculptures, which continually shift shape the more time one spends with them. "The form I focus on most is the inverse of the material of the work: the space that surrounds it, which I imagine as solid. The creation of this negative space is part of the work — perhaps that space can be said to have no surface at all. It is, at least, the beginning of the engagement of the work with its setting."

Novatt’s oeuvre as a whole has always emphasized scale and the importance of negative space. Works such as In the Thick of It (1996) (Lot 353) and Untitled (1987) (Lot 355) both operate within a delicate hierarchy of filled space and void. These two asymmetrical sculptures are at once resolutely stable and just on the brink of toppling over, enshrining "the moment before collapse." Appearing arrested, even as they are continually activated in a sustained and interlocked choreography that balances chaos and equilibrium, Novatt's sculptures, like constellations, are at once meticulously formal and polished in their engineering while irrepressibly playful in their chaotic melee of shapes. "Although I don’t work with any math or specific calculation," the artist once said, "I recognize the inevitable correlation between any object and the math or geometry of its form."

Sedbon, Lara. "Interview With Artist Jedd Novatt." Art and Only, 25 Jan. 2016, Web. Accessed 18 Aug. 2017.