Nava Lubelski

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Nava Lubelski
Born1968 (age 50–51)
Known forcontemporary art, fibers

Nava Lubelski (born 1968 in New York City) is a contemporary artist who currently works and lives in Asheville, NC.[1]

Background and Education[edit]

Nava Lubelski was born in 1968 and grew up in the SoHo section of New York City. She graduated from Hunter College High School in Manhattan in 1986 and earned a BA in Russian Literature and History from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT in 1990. She spent a year abroad as a student in Moscow, Russia.

Lubelski authored The Starving Artist's Way[2][3] and is a 2008 grantee of The Pollock Krasner Foundation.[4]

Artistic Career[edit]

Tequila Sunrise 12" x 12", thread on stained canvas, 2009 [Non-free 2D art]

Lubelski is a contemporary artist who works with fibers, paper sculptures, and various 3D stitched pieces. Her work engages a variety of materials and techniques, focusing on hybridizing notions of masculine/feminine, art/craft, painting/sculpture.[5]

Lubelski often works with hand stitching over stains on fabric. She stitches on the edges of the stain thus "repairing" them aesthetically. Her inspiration for this first came at an art foundation benefit when a glass of red wine was spilled on a tablecloth. Lubelski saved the tablecloth and commemorated the event by stitching with red around the stain, titling it Clumsy, taking the embarrassment and spill and making a painterly gesture out of them.[6]

Lubelski's work contrasts the accidental with the meticulous, using the stain as a 'pattern' from which she creates her abstract forms.[7] Lubelski is currently most well known for her embroidery works on canvas which explore "the contradictions between the impulse to destroy and the compulsion to mend."[8] Linens are stained and ripped, creating the initial marks that Lubelski meticulously embroiders over. The artist uses the graphic look of the stain as a play on creating and mending female sexuality and as an expression of aggression.[8] According to the artist there is a social symbolism in the stain, something shameful or worthy of reproach, that the woman historically cleans up, hides or discards.[7] These works often have holes that expose the back of the canvas, or are hung off the wall to add sculptural shadows. Lubelski engages contradictions of destruction and construction in her work through celebrating the emotions that engender a variety of human impulses, characteristics, and moral challenges.

Lubelski's stitched works are often considered painterly, and even abstract expressionist.[9]

Examples of her stitched work were included in Pricked: Extreme Embroidery at The Museum of Arts & Design in New York and in the book Contemporary Textiles: The Fabric of Fine Art,[10] published in 2008 by Black Dog Publishing in London. Lubelski's 2009 solo show, Recombination, at the New York City gallery LMAKprojects was reviewed in The New York Times by Karen Rosenberg, who described Lubelski as being "in a category of artists who “paint” with thread."[11]

Lubelski is also known for making shredded paper sculptures reminiscent of the cross-section of a tree. To create the tightly-wound coils that make up the "rings", recycled paper from written content (such as tax forms or deposit slips) were glued together. The cross-sections are an exercise of translating the data into a physical manifestation and as a tool, "for managing overwhelmingly large tallies, such as those we encounter regularly in reports on war or climate change."[8]

Other sculptural works such as Gone (2011)[12] or glove works like [a cast of my left hand in the shape of a] Glove v. 2 (2008)[13] use thread as a three-dimensional form. The Glove series focuses on improvisational stitches and the contrast between the artist's gloves and hyper-realistic Victorian lace gloves.

"ReMade" Hatchfund Project[edit]

In 2011 Lubelski created a Hatchfund project for ReMade: a factory-manufactured limited edition of 50-100 embroidered “paintings”. Each piece was to be a digital tracing of a stained embroidered work then converted by software into a stitch file for manufacture by industrial sewing machines. The minimum fundraising goal was $2,500. The target was reached with $4,035 by April 6th, 2011.[14]


Solo, 2, 3 - Person Exhibitions[edit]

2015 Vibrations, MARGARET THATCHER PROJECTS, New York, NY (3-person)

Emblematic/Made in WNC, The Center for Craft Creativity and Design, Asheville, NC (solo project/catalog)

2012 SelvEDGE, Rutledge Gallery, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC

Marked Up, Upstairs Artspace, Tryon, NC

2011 Roomful, LMAKprojects, New York, NY

We're Not Here to Waste Time!, Luis de Jesus, Los Angeles, CA (3-person) Dis/order, Artspace, Raleigh, NC (2-person)

2010 Warm for Winter, Cold for Fall, p|m Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2009 Recombination, LMAKprojects, New York, NY

Reverse Engineering, Mazmanian Art Gallery, Framingham State College, Framingham, MA

2007 Imperfectionism, LMAKprojects Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Spilled Milk, OH&T Gallery, Boston, MA Happy Accident, Flood Fine Art Center, Asheville, NC (3-person) Artist-in-Residence Open Studio, CUE Art Foundation, New York, NY

2005 Mixed Messes, OH&T Gallery, Boston, MA[15]

Published Writing[edit]

Nava Lubelski, The Starving Artist's Way, (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004)[15]


Mary Rechner, Hot Springs, (Los Angeles: Cloverfield Press, 2005), Illustration by Nava Lubelski

Nava Lubelski, The Starving Artist's Way, (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004)[15]


2010 North Carolina Arts Council, Artist Fellowship Award
2008 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Individual Artist Fellowship
2007 McColl Center for Visual Arts, Artist-in-Res, Artist Fellowship Awardidence

CUE Art Foundation, Artist-in-Residence

2006 Vermont Studio Center, Full Fellowship
2005 New York Foundation for the Arts, Artist's Fellowship Grant
2004 Ithaca Fine Chocolates, Art Bars Artist
2002 Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, Summer Residency
2001 Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, Space Program[15]


  • LMAKprojects in New York
  • OHT Gallery in Boston


  1. ^ Video: Ursula Gullow, "Art Seen Asheville - Nava Lubelski", URTV, April, 2008
  2. ^ Mindy Bond & Raphie Frank, "Nava Lubelski, Artist and Author,", Jan. 5, 2005 Archived 2009-02-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Nava Lubelski, The Starving Artist's Way, (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004)
  4. ^ The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc.
  5. ^ "Brooklyn Museum: Nava Lubelski". Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  6. ^ Lovelace, Joyce (June–July 2016). "Ruin and Redemption". American Craft. jun/jul16: 70–77.
  7. ^ a b Monem, Nadine Kathe, ed. (2008). Contemporary Textiles. London, UK: Black Dog Publishing Limited. pp. 112–113. ISBN 9781906155292.
  8. ^ a b c "NAVA LUBELSKI | STATEMENT". Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  9. ^ MacAdam, Barbara A. (February 2008). "Pricked: Extreme Embroidery". ARTnews. 6: 117.
  10. ^ Nadine Monem, Ed., Contemporary Textiles: The Fabric of Fine Art (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2008)
  11. ^ Karen Rosenberg, "Art in Review: Nava Lubelski", The New York Times, Jan. 23, 2009
  12. ^ "NAVA LUBELSKI: artworks". Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  13. ^ "NAVA LUBELSKI: artworks". Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  14. ^ "ReMade". ReMade Hatchfund. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d "NAVA LUBELSKI | RESUME". Retrieved 2018-09-25.

External links[edit]