The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art is proud to present This is the Place, This Must Be the Place, a collaboration between two artists who use text-based artworks to explore liminal spaces. Kyla Hansen and Krystal Ramirez use the Barrick’s Work Shop Gallery to establish a dialogue of shifted and distorted words that move back and forth between narration and abstraction. By introducing instability to written language, they create a space to explore impermanence in areas we like to think of as stable and fixed.
The exhibition centers on a visual exchange between an assemblage by Hansen and grids of typographical abstractions by Ramirez. Hansen's sculptural mural exists in the slippery space between two and three dimensions. She has created an arrangement of doors, literal areas of transition that host a patchwork of painted quilt-like patterns reminiscent of language. Ramirez responds with radiant monochromatic shapes that suggest recognizable letters and words. Her saturated palette nods to the combination of emotional fullness and conceptual openness that characterizes the work of Color Field painters and Modernists such as Mark Rothko. By deliberately “failing’ to connect through written texts, the artists raise questions about the authority and infallibility of language and communication.
They take their title from a statement attributed to the Mormon leader Brigham Young (1801 - 1877). “This is the place,” Young is alleged to have said in 1847 as he looked out over the landscape that would later become Salt Lake City. As they echo and distort his historic declaration, Hansen and Ramirez hope to prompt us to consider the relationship between language and the physical land we inhabit. What do places stand for? How do we create a claim to an area through our language? How is our language understood?
“Geographic spaces and their meaning change over time despite, and because of, cultural, political, religious, scientific, and personal declarations that often suggest stability,” the artists explain. “Lingering in unstable spaces of transition is uncomfortable. Looking for truths in the written language where there are none reminds us that it’s all merely anthropological perception. It’s not that everything you knew was wrong, it just always has the possibility to be organized differently." This is the Place, This Must Be the Place asks us to think about those uncomfortable places where possibilities are “organized differently.”
Kyla Hansen lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She received her Master of Fine Art from Claremont Graduate University in 2012 and her Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2009. Her work has been exhibited throughout the greater Los Angeles area, including Five Car Garage, Torrance Art Museum, Eastside International, Western Project, and FOCA LA. Her work was recently exhibited internationally at the Material Art Fair, Mexico City, MX and the exhibition Bloody Red Sun of Fantastic LA, a survey exhibition of emerging Los Angeles-based artists, at Piasa Auction House, in Paris, France. Her work has been recognized in several publications, including Modern Painters Magazine’s 24 Artists to Watch in 2013.
Krystal Ramirez shares her experiences through verbal and visual language. Her choice to use handmade aesthetics and language uphold her interests in materiality, physicality, mark-making, and the importance of labor within the work and underline the effort to occupy space through words. Ramirez received a BFA from UNLV in 2009 and is currently an MFA candidate in Art Practice at Stanford University. Her work has been exhibited at the Life is Beautiful Festival, Las Vegas, NV; Kleven Contemporary, Las Vegas, NV; the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, MN; The Holland Project, Reno, NV; and in Tilting the Basin, a pan-Nevadan exhibition organized by the Nevada Museum of Art. She lives and works in Las Vegas, NV, and Palo Alto, CA.
Support for this exhibition is provided by the WESTAF Regional Arts Resilience Fund, a relief grant developed in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support arts organizations in the 13-state western region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art is located in the heart of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus. The museum is easily accessed from the west side of campus at the intersection of Harmon Avenue and University Center Drive. Drive east on East Harmon Ave until the road enters the campus and terminates in a parking lot. The Museum will be on your right, next to a desert landscape garden. Find directions on the Contact page.
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