Varda Caivano,”Untitled”, 2019, water-based oil paint (gouache and ink) on linen, 90.9 x 57.6 cm (frame: 150.9 x 117.6 cm), ©Varda Caivano, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery

From 11st October to 9th November Varda Caivano a painter who lives and works in London, UK presents her solo exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery. Caivano was born in Buenos Aires in 1971, but currently based in UK since the early 2000s. As her fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, she presents her latest works.

In her artistic practice, painting process itself becomes her main concern. Caivano also focuses on materiality while concentrating on a process of work. Her works mainly consist of fundamental traits of ‘painting’ such as various colors, brushstrokes, and abundant layers. In this time, her painting widened to a work which stress a blank space within a work. Unlike her former works which were painted on the whole surface of tidy canvases, her latest works shows her challenge which is emphasizing unpainted space and using rough hemp fabric. A blank space enables unlimited space from limited space in a canvas. Therefore, a blank space of her work stimulates audience’s imagination beyond the blank space. It can be said that she expanded her work to different expression method while keeping her own style on painting.

The Installation view of Varda Caivano’s solo exhibition (2019) ©Varda Caivano, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
The Installation view of Varda Caivano’s solo exhibition (2019) ©Varda Caivano, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery

Focusing on only what has been painted, it is not so completely different to her former work. She keeps her theme, but just has changed her way to express it effectively or in diverse ways. Caivano focuses on “process”, hence materiality also stands out. What is “process” in her work? That might be repetition of decision-making and observation like what sort of collage should be made. That also could be a consideration about what colors should match each other on canvas.

As a result, her work, become trace of the process which includes materiality, her concerns and a time. The trace of her time and her concerns seems not any certain depiction (description). Caivano herself states her thoughts about her work as below

“I don’t regard painting as a representation, but instead something more like a presentation in the context of poetry and music.”

(Varda Caivano Interview: “Limitless Paintings that Stir the Imagination,” interviewer: Kotaro Shimada, Bijutsu Techo, 2017 February Issue)

Additionally, as it’s her fourth exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery since 2016, Caivano newly features nine latest painting works and framed works including collage, drawing, and painting on a paper. Furthermore, the colors used in the new works has been changed from her previous series. While she focused on grey colors by her previous series ‘Grey Paintings’ which exhibited in her solo show in Japan 2016, the latest works shows more vivid colors such as reds, yellows, and greens than before.

In a word, her work seems to be a fluid rhythm like a context of poetry and music, rather than a stagnant thing stuck in a canvas. Especially her new way to present her work with a frame and intentional blank space maximizes her fluid theme.

Varda Caivano’s solo exhibition

  • DATES : October 11 (Fri) – November 9 (Sat), 2019
  • HOURS : 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Closed on Sundays, Mondays and National Holidays
  • Admission free.

Article written by Jeongeun Jo
Jeongeun Jo is from Korea now living in Japan. She is one of the member of TRiCERA who graduated from Graduate School of Fine Arts at Tokyo University of the Arts (TUA/ Geidai). She is also working as an artist herself. 


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