Yashua Klos explores issues of identity through the lenses of mythical blackness. His formal construction of disparate collaged images mirrors the constant fracturing and reconciliation of blackness, masculinity and family structures within the black urban environment. Yashua Klos sees collage itself, as a medium, as a metaphor for the fragmentation of African American identity. 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.
Yashua 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. 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.
Yashua Klos was born in 1977 in Chicago, Illinois and lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He is a visual artist who employs a unique process of collaging his own woodblock printed textures to engage ideas about Blackness as an adaptive material for survival strategies. Klos’ work have been shown in museums and galleries across the states and internationally, including the Studio Museum of Harlem, the Weatherspoon Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina, What If The World in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tilton Gallery in New York City, and UTA Artist Space in LA. Klos’ first solo museum show is in 2022 at the Wellin Museum in Clinton NY. Klos’ works have been reviewed in the NY Times, and he’s been awarded residencies at Skowhegan, The Vermont Studio Center, and Bemis. He is the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Fellowship and a NYFA grant.
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