through passage and pansy is a collection of work by Kira Vlietstra that peers into the liminal space created by our obscured perception and natural temporality. Kira has reconnected with childlike expression, tuning in to a personal nature of colour and form to depict saturated scenes of passages, objects of utility and plants in a journal-like manner, allowing subconscious inspirations to reveal themselves. Pieces in the collection relate as natural and architectural structures designed for energy exchange: manipulation of water and light travelling from one space into another. To the artist, each piece is personified: a character known only to herself, coded with references to the silliness and growth experienced during her time in Medicine Hat. To you, perhaps something else entirely.
Pansy derives from the English word pensée meaning a thought or to ponder. While it’s a grounding practice to observe and reflect, if left soaking for too long, a sensation of isolation and depersonalization may develop. In her observation, Kira has noticed the looming shadows of over consumption and commodification. In her work, she has attempted to mimic both the malaise and vibrancy of present-day human-experience and communicate this tension. The artist invites the viewer to become curious about their own reality. This liminal space that we exist in, unknowing of the full truth of the materials we interact with; semi-aware of the common energy that is passed between us.
About the Artist
Kira Vlietstra (she/her, they/them) is a multidisciplinary artist and designer practicing in Amiskwaciwâskahikan, Edmonton, on Treaty 6 Territory. She grew up in small town Saskatchewan, spending summers at the pool and winters watching the ephemeral and rich sun set on the prairie. In 2021, Kira graduated with a BAA in Art and Design from Medicine Hat College. Kira’s time at school teemed with discovery of community, art-practice and self, which set her early career in motion with various multi-faceted creative pursuits.
In the summer of 2021, Kira completed an internship at Medalta, co-curated the travelling exhibition Strange and Known Places for TREX Southeast and occupied studio space at Studio San Paulo. Kira also worked with artist Heidi McKenzie on her exhibition Brick by Brick, contributing animated, augmented reality overlays to McKenzie’s ceramic works. In the fall of 2021 Kira participated in a five-week residency at Arquetopia in Puebla, Mexico and then relocated to Edmonton.
Each of these experiences provided an opportunity to cultivate a deeper understanding of the current epoch around her ‒ gathering context through analyzing the lived experiences of self and others, it is this observation and reflection that is fueling Kira’s latest creative endeavours. Kira’s practice combines mediums such as painting, photography, video, projection and sculpture. Thematically, her work hinges on the dissonance between isolation and interconnection. In a journal-like method, Kira depicts her perception of experiences intuitively, with playful forms and an emphasis on expressive colour. Channeling these techniques, Kira recreates the energetic experience of a moment or place, formally appearing as partially rendered spaces, objects of utility and symbols related to light-hearted memories. This process reveals an attempt to capture the liminal space we all exist in: unknowing of the full truth of the external materials we interact with; semi-aware of the common energy that is passed between us.