Varda Caivano’s paintings are ‘an inquiry into the practice of painting performed over time’, rewarding the viewer with ever-unfurling nuances that shift and grow, appear then disappear, whilst actively resisting the arrival of any fixed style, mood or meaning.
Looking at Caivano’s work, we might dwell on shapes and lines, variations of touch and tone, and be alerted to how qualities of paint as space are mapped and atmosphere created. However, Caivano’s paintings are irreducible as simple records of the artist’s decision-making process; her questioning works invite associativity in thinking as much as intensity in looking. Equally strong are suggestions of landscapes or objects, actual things in the world. Caivano’s great strength lies in her understanding of the ways in which objects and images impress upon us via essences of colour, shape and texture and how these essences affect us as deeply as the physical form to which they are ordinarily attached.
Always intuitive, playful, and open-ended, works in this major new solo exhibition are held in careful balance between the intense focus of their making and the endless associations they inspire.
Born in Buenos Aires in 1971, Varda Caivano lives and works in London, where she graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2004. The artist has presented solo exhibitions at institutions including the Renaissance Society, Chicago (2015); Chisenhale gallery, London (2007) and Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany (2006). In 2013 a concise presentation of paintings throughout Caivano’s practice, from early career to her most recent work, was included in The Encyclopedic Palace, the 55th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, selected by curator Massimiliano Gioni. Other recent exhibitions include Varda Caivano, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2019); Surface Work, Victoria Miro, London, UK (2018); Collection 2: The 1980s Zeitgeist as a Point of Departure, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan (2018); Artists’ Artists, curated by Jane Neal at the CentrePasqueArt, Biel, Switzerland (2013); Collection 2 – Focus on Recent Acquisitions, National Gallery of Osaka, Japan (2010); British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet, Hayward Gallery, London (2010); Resonance, Suntory Museum, Osaka, Japan (2010); East End Academy: The Painting Edition, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2009); Busan Biennale, South Korea (2008); and Very Abstract and Hyper Figurative, curated by Jens Hoffmann (2007). Varda Caivano is a recipient of the prestigious Abbey Award, British School at Rome (2011).
Current group exhibitions include Slow Painting, organised by Hayward Touring, which originated at Leeds Museum and Art Gallery, UK, touring to The Levinsky Gallery, Plymouth, UK (24 Jan – 28 Mar 2020), The Edge, University of Bath and Bath Spa School of Art and Design (10 April–6 June 2020) and Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, and Thurso Art Gallery (24 July–3 October 2020).
Cover image: Varda Caivano, Untitled, 2019, water-based oil paint (gouache and ink) on linen © The Artist. Courtesy of Victoria Miro Gallery.