Kohn Gallery has announced the representation of Indian artist Siji Krishnan. Krishnan, who lives and works in Kerala, India, will hold her inaugural U.S. solo exhibition with Kohn Gallery in the fall of 2023.
Siji Krishnan’s portraits framed by landscapes capture her experience growing up in the vivid countryside of southern India. In her work, Krishnan revisits her childhood and depicts the sensorial impressions of village life, unraveling her psyche in a dialogue between her personal and collective memory. On organic, leafy canvases her paintings become portals for inner worlds that reveal a reverence for paternal love and care, family and community, and the kinship between humans and the natural world.
The familial quality of her subject matter is transcended by her command of texture. Krishnan meticulously prepares her canvases with layers of fine rice paper and numerous watercolor washes that result in a supple and singular patina. Krishnan writes, “I often feel the pale and permissible surfaces are akin to many layers of our own memories.” In concert with her belief that “a work is discovered in the process,” images emerge on the rice paper surface and produce an ethereal realm of sublime, earthy colors and abstract forms.
“Krishnan paints with tenderness and commitment to each subject, excavating a rich variety of human forms and conditions.” says Joshua Friedman, Partner of Kohn Gallery. “We are thrilled to welcome her truly distinctive voice to our program.”
For Krishnan, her work evokes the Perennial Upanishadic dictum, vasudhaiva kutumbakam, meaning “the world is one family.” Her portraiture delves into the personalities of her subjects, allowing their essence to saturate the senses without exaggerating their outward features. Each subject, though rooted in the artist’s familiar past, is concentrated in the present and prompts the viewer to listen attentively to their story. Through her enchanted imagery, Krishnan’s large-scale works paint a web of life with the spirit of interconnectedness narrated through a visual language of figure and gesture.