Old Haunts, Lower Reaches is an exhibition of new work by Nick Larsen (b. 1982) that excavates history, possibility, identity, and place. Comprised of layered collage pieces, textile-based architectural models, and image projection, Larsen explores what is present and visible in the desert landscape and, perhaps more importantly, what isn’t.
Influenced heavily by the artist’s experience working for an archaeological firm focused on the Great Basin region, research for Old Haunts, Lower Reaches began when Larsen discovered a fading layer in the history of the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada. Rhyolite (located thirty miles from Death Valley National Park) served, at one point, as the proposed site for a planned queer community, Stonewall Park, envisioned by two men from Reno in the 1980s. Contextualized by the history of Rhyolite, Stonewall Park, and his own life, Larsen speculates pasts, presents, and futures for this desert locale.
In the words of the artist, “The desert is an environment defined by what it lacks, its bleakness an invitation to project possibilities for both what could have been and what might be on what is often perceived as empty.” Repurposing materials to create his layered collages and sculptures, Larsen’s speculative practice also serves as a kind of “making do,” using what is at hand to give form to an invisible history or an unattainable future.
Nick Larsen was raised in Northern Nevada and currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.