Kaveri Raina : Songs of silence, yet bluebirds hum

Opening: Saturday, Sep 9, 2023 5 – 7:30 pm
Saturday, Sep 9 – Nov 4, 2023

1612 W. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

PATRON is proud to present Kaveri Raina: Songs of silence, yet bluebirds hum, the gallery's second solo exhibition with the Brooklyn-based artist. Kaveri Raina’s multilayered paintings emerge from the artist's unique approach to narrative construction; a performed collection of gestures and events that evoke a chorus of abstraction coiled through the threads of visual storytelling. While referencing various sources of imagery from the personal to the art historical, her visual language of recurring, abstract forms are culled from a net of art history, cinema, and fantasy. Painted entirely on heavy, pigmented burlap, Raina transforms the agrarian material into a diaphanous screen across and through which she pours and contours acrylic paint that is then further obfuscated through layers of loose graphite, oil paint, and pastel. Visible on both sides of the porous, rough fabric, the compositions appear as fleeting, momentary constellations of information.

Songs of silence, yet bluebirds hum showcases Raina’s recent paintings as well as an immersive drawing installation. Drawing on an increasingly symbiotic relationship between the artist’s works on paper and her paintings, Raina’s images exist as flattened forms that appear to fly, fall, and settle across grids, and appear, apparition-like through clouds of graphite smoke. Emerging from the artist’s interest in multicultural modes of ceremony and memorialization, the paintings function as contemporary genre scenes, holding extended moments of silence in the aftermath of an obscured tragedy.

A postscript of Raina’s previous bodies of work, which foregrounded the whirling fury of the battle, Songs of silence, yet bluebirds hum furthers an ongoing narrative: a lead-in, a disaster, an aftermath. Raina follows the whirling, hovering battles of earlier paintings by holding space, letting the dust settle. Functioning as contemporary genre scenes, Raina provides us with only the grave but also the grave diggers. Suggestive figures arrest compositions of reaching, running limbs. Industrial masses grow upwards, backwards. Linear time or depth of field is replaced with bomb cyclones of uncertainty.

Songs of silence, yet bluebirds hum bears witness to what has, and what may again, occur. In these spaces, emotion is replaced with stasis, anger with a denial of grief, an acceptance of being in the eye of a storm that can, at any moment restart, accelerate, continue. Raina implicates us as witnesses to where past and future meet. As a witness there is an expectation–to recall. Once/if you act you’re no longer a witness but a victim, an accessory, an actor. Bearing witness is a solitary act, but also a communal one, rituals are created through a collective bearing witness to, and quiet, if emotive observance of the event, the aftermath of which colors the present.

Painting can be material evidence.


About Kaveri Raina
Kaveri Raina (b.1990, New Delhi, India) received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. Select solo and group exhibitions include: A soft place to land (2023), Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Cleveland, OH; Deep! Down! Inside! (2023), Hales Gallery, New York, NY; Kaveri Raina and Coral Saucedo Lomelí: What Do You Remember About the Earth (2023), Lighthouse Works, NY; image as a burden, death as a womb (2022), Chapter NY, New York, NY; Heft (2022), PATRON, Chicago, IL; E/Merge: Art of the Indian Diaspora (2021), National Indo-American Museum, Lombard, IL; Partings, Swaying to the Moon (2020), PATRON, Chicago, IL; NO LACKS, ME AND MY SHADOW (2020), M+B Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; A Space for Monsters (2021), Twelve Gates Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson and Kaveri Raina (2020), Abattoir Gallery, Cleveland, OH; Linger to Gaze (2019), Annarumma Gallery, Naples, Italy; Linger Still (2019), Assembly Room, New York, NY; Here or There (2019), Paolo Arao, Rata Projects, New York, NY; Sarah.Canright / Kaveri.Raina (2019), Permanent Collection/Co-Lab Projects, Austin, TX; spaceless(2019), Deli Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Paint School (2019), Shandaken Projects, Klaus von Nichtssagend, New York, NY; garcia, raina, shore, tossin (2019) at Luhring Augustine, New York; Pleasure at a Distance(2018), Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, CA. Raina has received several fellowships and awards including the James Nelson Raymond Fellowship, the Ox-bow Residency Award, and the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture Fellowship Award.


PATRON is a contemporary art gallery in Chicago created by Julia Fischbach and Emanuel Aguilar in 2015. PATRON is founded on the defining characteristics of a patron of the arts: a person chosen, named or honored as a special guardian, protector or supporter. With this foundation set as a cornerstone, the gallery hopes to help open new avenues for audiences to engage with and find access to contemporary art.

PATRON strives to secure and develop institutional support through exhibitions and acquisitions for their artists. Recent museum exhibitions include Alex Chitty at the Museum of Contemporary Art; Bethany Collins at Frist Art Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, and the Speed Art Museum; Mika Horibuchi at the Richard H. Driehaus Museum; Jennie C. Jones at the Arts Club of Chicago, and the unveiling of her first major public sculpture as part of Ground/Work at The Clark Art Institute; Harold Mendez at The Logan Center for the Arts and ICA LA; and Caroline Kent at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, among many others. Recent notable acquisitions include Greg Breda by the Columbus Museum of Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and LACMA; Bethany Collins by the St. Louis Art Museum, Speed Art Museum, Van Every/Smith Galleries at Davidson College, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the Block Museum at Northwestern University; Caroline Kent by DePaul Art Museum; Myra Greene by the Block Museum at Northwestern University; Jennie C. Jones by the Perez Art Museum and The Morgan Library & Museum; Harold Mendez by the Whitney and the Minneapolis Institute of Art; Melanie Schiff by the Art Institute of Chicago; and Liat Yossifor by the Hammer Museum.


Image: Kaveri Raina, ....and still raging, treading through the desolate silence, 2023