February 29 — April 18, 2020
My Noiseless Entourage
Conduit Gallery is honored to announce the third solo exhibition of work by New Mexico-based artist, Maja Ruznic: My Noiseless Entourage.
“We were never formally introduced.
I had no idea of their number.
It was like a discreet entourage
Of homegrown angels and demons
All of whom I had met before
And had since largely forgotten.
In time of danger, they made themselves scarce.
Where did they all vanish to?”
My Noiseless Entourage, 2005, Charles Simic
American Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner
Titled after a passage by the Yugoslavian-American poet Charles Simic, My Noiseless Entourage, an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Maja Ruznic, traverses shifting landscapes. These works, as well as the poem, describe the matrixial subject, the gaze of a phantom ‘other’, the core nature of the figures she paints and draws. Ruznic’s subjects are moving to and from locations, in and out of existence.
It is unsurprising that Ruznic’s paintings dropped almost all their saturation when she moved to New Mexico from California. Surrounded by the placid silence of southwestern dust, the paintings are now the color of twilight.
Ruznic states, “I realized when I could see the tooth of the canvas, the canvas is breathing. That is a different kind of texture”. Ruznic starts by pouring thin layers of previously used Gamsol (paint thinner) from her preceding paintings. There is no waste in this methodology, one painting grows out of the other. This is Ruznic’s signature mark-making, using gravity to place color and form onto the canvas or paper, which she then re-negotiates with line and brushwork.
Her double major in art came after studying psychology, and some of these studies indicated to her the way that memory exists in the mind. It is not a static thing that is recalled and then put back in its place; it is a living, developing idea which is never really objective. Ruznic’s work is like this, a dream object. This is by design, as she wants the viewer to feel as if they are trying to capture a cloud in a bottle – something that seems plausible but no one has ever done.
Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1983, Ruznic immigrated to the United States with her family in 1995, settling on the West Coast where she eventually went on to study at the University of California, Berkeley, later earning an MFA from the California College of Arts. Ruznic’s often-quoted personal history – a refugee who escaped the Bosnian War – is only the beginning of her journey. Recent exhibitions include: Harper’s Books, New York, NY (2020); Galerie d'Ys, Brussels, Belgium (2019); Conduit Gallery, Dallas, TX (solo, 2018); OCHI Gallery, Ketchm, ID (2018); Duplex 100m2, Sarajevo, Bosnia & Hercegovia (solo, 2017); ACME, Los Angeles, CA (2017); BEERS Gallery, London, UK (2017); CES Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (solo, 2016); Jack Fisher Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo, 2016). Ruznic’s work has been written about extensively, most notably in Juxtapoz, ArtMaze, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Studio Visit Magazine, and twice in New American Paintings, including the cover as selected by curator Anne Ellegood. Ruznic was the recipient of the Hopper Prize (2018) and was artist in residence in Brittany with MICA’s Klotts International Program for Artists (2017).