In his current exhibition, “How to Hide in the Wind”, Yashua Klos uses collage and printmaking to transform abstracted pieces of printed paper into figurative profiles. His subjects take on a three dimensional quality as they physically emerge through wood blocks revealing one external image while concealing fragments of themselves left behind. This visual representation of code switching demonstrates its power to protect people who navigate different environments in their daily lives. However, this careful control over perception and identity is a fragile construct that may expose one’s vulnerabilities.
In “Once You Could Fly” we see an image of a man without his protective barrier, exposing the contents of his core. Whether that reveal was predicated by choice or circumstance, like an exposed fusilage of an airplane, the man appears to be in freefall.
Social commentary and the specter of police brutality are indirectly expressed in Klos’ work in two ways: survival and the deconstruction of the body. His paintings reflect the subject’s process of transforming abstracted bits of their past, their environment and their identity to form who they are and how they navigate society. This process of transformation, Klos’ personal experiences with police brutality as a youth in the South Side of Chicago and our continued struggles with systemic violence were discussed in a 2015 Modern Painter’s interview.
“We’re all trying to navigate our own tolerance of this oppression, and knowing that this violence against us is always looming. We have to exist, we have to survive, we have to go on and be happy. But we always know it’s there. It might, in some ways, numb me. These are very hard feelings to deal with. And there’s a part of me that just wants to shut down and retreat, like this is not happening — but I know it is happening, I know it’s been happening. We can’t move on until we’ve confronted this, until we’ve figured out how to resist it, until we’ve dealt with it. It’s been hard.”
Yashua Klos, “How to Hide in the Wind” is a solo exhibition currently at Papilliion Art and runs until March 6, 2016.
4336 Degnan Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90008
The “Artist a Day Challenge” celebrates Black History Month by highlighting Black artists and diverse forms of cultural expression across the African diaspora.