"Most of the paintings in Robert Novel's "Translation Not Required" balance three colors, only two of which are produced by pigment. The hard-edged bars, wedges and slashes of the local artist's show at P Street Gallerie are almost entirely in black and two shades of white, the darker of which is just exposed canvas. This strategy is most evident in a series of six compositions on linen, which is tanner than the canvas Novel uses. The limited palette makes the lone multicolored piece look almost baroque, even though it uses the same stark geometric forms and a narrow range of hues: red, orange and brown.
Novel has a background in sculpture, which may explain his attraction to sleek black shapes. Arranged horizontally, the painter's stacked, pointed stripes suggest Venetian blinds. Flipped 90 degrees, they look like black-metal stakes, supports for some modernist Stonehenge. Two of the pictures hint at the influence of Mondrian's lines and planes, but Novel's style is closer in spirit to that of David Smith, a sculptor who was said to paint with welded metal."
- Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post, October 2, 2015