Ragini Bhow


December 14, 2023 – January 13, 2024
New York

Press Release

François Ghebaly is proud to present Conduits, Ragini Bhow’s first exhibition at the gallery’s New York space.

“There’s something about fear,” observes Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Ragini Bhow of her own process. “Or maybe awe. Like navigating through the dark with only a single light. Trusting, sometimes blindly, that you’ll find yourself in a place that you want to get to, you need to get to, but that you haven’t necessarily known before.” 

For Bhow, feelings such as these are hardly unfamiliar. Over the last decade, she’s cultivated a practice in nonrepresentational painting and sculpture that wades deep in matters of perception, intuition, animism, and metaphysics. “The dark,” in all of its literal and esoteric senses, is the unsung collaborator in her work. Beginning as inky base coats of matte-black, her paintings rely entirely on the artist’s own ur-sensitivities in darkness (combinations of meditative focus, entoptic phenomena, and keen, instrumentalized attention to sign and cypher) to guide the meticulous, pointillist application of handmade mineral pigment. Compressed onto the flat visual planes of the artworks, Bhow’s geometric arrays capture a kind of augur’s formalism–a poetics of intuition that materializes on her pitch-dark surfaces as tessellations of glimmering, crystalline blue, and in forms at once folkloric, biologic, atomic, and cosmic.

In her newest exhibition, Conduits, Bhow takes these latter points to task. Physical ideas of velocity, expansion, and magnetism become leitmotivs in the artist’s new works for broad schemes of relationality, channels for the exchange of energy and knowledge. Such concepts are very much at the core of Bhow’s practice, and gesture toward an urge across her work to bridge and unify scales of perceived distance or temporal separation. Vis-à-vis the exhibition title, ‘conduits’ references not only Bhow’s immediate work, but also the many interpretive processes around which she orients her art-making. Both act as vehicles to uncover links between disparate orders at their most metamorphic–quite literal “mediums” between micro- and macrocosm, ancience and futurity, and across varying material, spiritual, and epistemic states. On the far wall of the gallery hangs Bhow’s newest and largest artwork in the exhibition, entitled Light Shield (2023). In the dim glow of the gallery lighting, lowered to replicate the conditions of the artist’s painting environment and to encourage deliberate, prolonged interaction with the artwork, Bhow’s spire-like and elliptical forms simultaneously resemble ancient petroglyphs, dividing cells, and massive interstellar phenomena. The result is a dualism that points in either direction toward contiguous, primordial time. 

At the exhibition’s center stands the sculpture Tree Walker (2023). Echoing the recurring four-pointed motif seen in paintings like Kusum (2023) and others, Tree Walker appears not unlike a quadruped organism, its limbs extend skyward to create a hollow at the base. The sculpture is constructed from clay and modeled after chulha, a type of earthen oven commonly used in India. It’s the newest in Bhow’s ongoing series of hearth vessels. Upon completion, Bhow burns organic material at the bases of these sculptures in a ritual fire, and also adorns them with collected ash from years of past burnings. For Bhow, the ritual is one of transformation: “the sculptures become artifacts of transition states, of ephemerality and the shedding of form”–metaphors, among others, that are at the heart of Conduits.

Ragini Bhow (b. 1991, Minneapolis, MN) fosters deep seeing through artworks that have lives, spirits, and strengths of their own. In vibrational paintings and floor sculptures that hold commanding, deep-rooted animism, Bhow’s work speaks to the microbial, cosmic, and supernatural. Using materials such as handmade pigments and ritual ash, she explores different temporalities and materialities to illustrate the shiftiness of recollection through her ritualistic processes. Bhow holds a BFA from the University of Minnesota and an MFA from the University of New Mexico. Recent solo exhibitions include Tiger Strikes Asteroid, New York, and Rubber Factory, New York. Recent group exhibitions include François Ghebaly, Los Angeles; Jack Barrett Gallery, New York; Charles Moffett Gallery, New York; Island Gallery, New York; Kleine-Humboldt Galerie, Berlin; Galerie Mirchandani & Steinruecke, Mumbai; UNM Art Museum, Albuquerque; and Gallery SKE, Bangalore. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.


Ragini Bhow. Kusum, 2023. Crushed crystal, mica, pigment on birch in artist's aluminum frame, 60 x 40 inches (152.5 x 101.5 cm.)

Ragini Bhow, Tree Walker, 2023. Wood, ritualistic ash, epoxy clay, aluminum, 66 x 12 x 13 inches (168 x 31 x 33 cm.)

Ragini Bhow, Nazar Battu, 2022. Crushed crystal, mica, acrylic, flashe on birch, 41 x 56 inches (104 x 142 cm.)

Ragini Bhow, Ra, 2023, Crushed crystal, mica, acrylic, flashe on birch, 41 x 31 inches (104 x 79 cm)

Ragini Bhow, Light Shield, 2023. Crushed crystal, mica, acrylic, flashe on birch, 73.5 x 56.5 inches (183 x 144 cm.)

Ragini Bhow, Tree Walkers (Imprint), 2023. Aluminum in acrylic frame, 32 x 26 inches (80 x 65 cm)

Ragini Bhow, Night bloom, 2021. Crushed crystal, mica, acrylic, flashe on birch, 20 x 16 inches (51 x 41 cm.)

Ragini Bhow, Ma, 2022. Crushed crystal, pigment, mica, acrylic, on basswood in artist's aluminum frame., 31 x 25 inches (79 x 64 cm)