Whether interpreted aesthetically, materially, or conceptually, Russna Kaur’s paintings are equally rewarding for their viewer. Through bold colour and large-scale abstraction, Kaur speaks to her identity as a Canadian of Punjabi diaspora. From the lengths of vibrant fabric in her mother’s Indian clothing boutique to the saturated tones of community festivals and ceremonies, Kaur’s paintings reference the immersive, overwhelming experiences of colour that shaped her childhood.
Despite their overt confrontation of history and identity, the works have as much in common with the heroic gestures of modernist abstraction as they do South Asian material culture. Kaur effortlessly situates herself within the contemporary painting landscape while retaining deep engagement with her personal history. The works resist a simplified reading, encompassing and yet expanding well beyond identity politics.
This work is an enlarged detail shot of Kaur’s painting “Ironing, bored.,” acrylic, oil, latex and sawdust on canvas, 144 x 108 in., 2019.