Please join us for a conversation between artist Yashua Klos and curator Kalia Brooks this Friday, March 29th at 6:30pm at Tilton Gallery.
Yashua Klos explores issues of identity, memory and biography through the lenses of mythical blackness and mythical maleness. Working against the audience's pre-existing views, Klos consciously engages in a strategy of cultural resistance, using scale and form as well as subject matter to push back against cultural ideas of blackness and marginalization.
Klos' formal construction of disparate collaged images mirrors the constant fracturing and reconciliation of blackness, masculinity and family structures within the black urban environment. Klos sees collage itself, as a medium, as a metaphor for the fragmentation of African American identity. Informed by his personal history of growing up without a father on the South Side of Chicago, the artist also references the larger ideas of ancestry, mythology and cosmology. His constructions lead one into an imaginary landscape, at once ancient and futuristic, classic and sci-fi, where identity is both in question and shockingly evident.
Klos creates his own shallow cubist space by juxtaposing and overlapping smaller collage elements, twisting and turning their orientation to create the illusion of spatial movement and three-dimensional wall sculpture. The impression of fractured space is furthered by the angled vantage points and foreshortened views of recognizable images.
These are collages hung directly, unframed, on the wall that appear to be intricate patterns composed of multiple, repetitive elements that appear from afar as abstract units. What distinguishes Klos' work is that these small elements are as often representational or figurative as abstract. They converge to create the larger, whole, images, also representational, often portraits and figures emerging out of an unidentifiable pile of rubble. Heads and faces emerge out of abstract shapes that double as both building blocks and debris. Assembled out of woodblock prints and ink, larger intricate worlds come into being: ambiguous half abstract, half recognizable images, challenging spatial norms as well as art history's stylistic categories. This physical complexity echoes the psychological ambiguities that comprise Klos' subject. Perhaps a sculptor at heart, Klos transforms his two-dimensional collages into three-dimensional illusions, works that are at once flat on the wall and appear built out, more like sculptural reliefs.
Born in Chicago, Klos currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and teaches at Hunter College where he received his MFA and at Parsons The New School for Design. He was a resident of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2005. His work is currently included in Fore at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.