An ongoing exploration of self manifests in the paintings of Sarah.Canright and Kaveri.Raina. Here, portraiture in a shimmering space of fugitive color and light predominates.
When life sends pictures you can’t digest quickly enough you
convert them to a cartoon mechanism so that the colors become
very hard and strong. Very clear so you can abide them. Think of
the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Heavy shit. Same deal.
Always each image leans on the other held abreast by wefts and
warps so the shock of reality really gets caught. Held.
—Eileen Myles, Afterglow (a dog memoir) (2017)
Permanent.Collection and Co-Lab Projects present:
Sarah.Canright / Kaveri.Raina
July 6th – 27th, 2019
Opening Reception: July 6th, 7-11pm
Open Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12-6pm
An ongoing exploration of self manifests in the paintings of Sarah.Canright and Kaveri.Raina. Here, portraiture in a shimmering space of fugitive color and light predominates. Employing techniques of abstraction, both artists are attentive to the memory of figurative forms, a landscape rooted in personal history, and a lifelong, almost-diaristic dedication to similar subject matter, including four-legged creatures, shadowy silhouettes, and irregular patterns.
The subjects of Sarah.Canright’s recent paintings hide, peek, layer, and weave appendages under and over one another. With direct line work, Canright’s oil paintings offer up a surface-level read of highly skilled realism, yet their pale subtlety in color and tone insist on another perspective, one seen through an abstract lens. Her oils evade accurate reproduction, in person offering an array of retina-confusing, vibrating color that seems to shimmer like a mirage under heat and light. In Canright’s watercolors, the figures are shaped by a bold, confident, and nuanced brush—bare-bones, essential information all conveyed by the most minimally painted mark, one that constrains but doesn’t bind. Light and color are captured within the lines like a bead of water: dependent and contained, yet able to scatter, disperse, and cascade at any moment.
Canright returns regularly to the portrait, often in profile, as the most reductive essence of her elegant subjects. These characters are emotionally expressive and full of life, folding themselves into the frame. Some also serve as a memento mori, a document of sickness and death created from photographs and memories of mourning. Somber, measured, haunting, and altogether loving, Canright’s use of companion iconography highlights an aspect of life that both tethers us and allows us to be free.
It’s hard not to deal with stark realism here in central Texas, faced with such intense heat, light, and humidity. The blue of sky, the white of the air, the red-brown earth. The staggering expanse of landscape, both lush and harsh. On most days there is a brilliant, fractal mirroring of light. To view Canright’s paintings is to become the light source, emitting and exuding an aura, an energy onto the canvas. A silhouette cast from white light, bleached out, like bones that have lived outside in the hot desert sand. And in all that light the image fades into the lost blink of memory.
In contrast, Kaveri.Raina’s paintings, often on the rough, utilitarian warp and weft of raw burlap, are punctuated by constrained glyphs and icons: bright color circumnavigated by a circling, obscuring haze of graphite. For Raina, a multiplicity of landscapes and identities collide to inform her work, from the frenetic urban sprawl of India’s capital city to the staid, wide plains of central Ohio. She regularly paints on both sides of the fabric, a scumbled thicket of pigment pushing from the back toward the surface, evoking a kind of suspension between two worlds. Raina’s subjects, translated and repeated until they are distilled and reduced in form, appear as shadowy silhouettes of indeterminate origin, blocked and blocking one another as they jockey for predominance on the surface.
Haunting, noir, these shadows tell a story. At one point a hat, perhaps an umbrella in the rain, two legs in a burlesque kick, a cow’s head, or maybe a dog running, a vase, a woman’s hair picked up by the wind. Here the light source seems to come from the background, from behind the silhouettes. A lantern cast from backstage, these shadow puppets dance behind the curtain, acting out a play we cannot hear. We are blocked, blinded, seeking out the outlines of an oncoming car through its high beams late at night on a small and winding rural road. Raina’s repetition of concentric circles could be the surrounding hazy glow from a bright light seen through rain—or perhaps her repeated marks cast a spell on the surrounding scene, a force field of energy unwinding the narrative, pulling characters together or holding them suspended, hovering, apart.
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This exhibition is curated by Permanent.Collection and presented in collaboration with Co-Lab Projects. Text by Julia V. Hendrickson.
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Born = Chicago, Illinois (1941)
Raised = Chicago, Illinois & Winter Park, Florida
Lives = Austin, Texas
BFA = School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1964)
Work = Associate Professor of Practice, Studio Art (Painting & Drawing), The University of Texas at Austin (1982 – present)
See More = sarahcanright.com
Born = New Delhi, India (1990)
Raised = New Delhi, India & Columbus, Ohio
Lives = Brooklyn, New York
BFA = Maryland Institute College of Art (2011)
MFA = School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2016)
See More = kaveriraina.com
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X.an archive of simultaneity.
X.an experimental exhibition space with a heart in Chicago, Illinois, a home in Austin, Texas, and a future in Los Angeles, California.
X.a curatorial project of Julia V. Hendrickson and Anthony B. Creeden.
More information at permanentcollectiongallery.com