Wellin exhibition features works by Yashua Klos

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CLINTON — The Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College presents “Yashua Klos: Our Labour,” a free exhibition curated by Wellin Museum director Tracy L. Adler, on view through June 12.

The exhibition is open to vaccinated, boosted and masked visitors.

Brooklyn-based artist Yashua Klos explores the intersections between the human form, natural elements, and social hierarchies. His practice uses a process of gluing woodcuts into large-scale murals and fusing contemporary and traditional forms into powerful sculptures, while engaging ideas of blackness and masculinity as identities. Her recent work addresses personal stories of race, identity and family ties.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is a monumental 15-by-38-foot collage inspired by Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals (1932-33). In this work, Klos retained the composition of the original mural, but replaced Rivera’s faceless factory workers with portraits of Klos’s own family, almost all of whom worked at Ford’s Detroit plant.

He arranged the portraits according to the structure of his family tree. The mural incorporates representations of family members as well as mechanical and natural elements such as vines and trees. In addition to this mural, he collaborated with a group of seven students from Hamilton College on a 9-by-24-foot collage-based mural installation also included in the exhibit.

During a visit to Detroit in early 2020, Klos spent time at the Detroit Institute of Arts closely examining Diego Rivera’s mural, which depicts workers at the Ford factory at that time and, in the words of Klos, “glorifies and mythologizes the labor-power proletariat.”

Klos studied composition while studying the Rivera mural and spent time with his family in Detroit collecting portrait photos and family stories about their migration from Memphis and their relationship with the Ford factory.

Back in Brooklyn, Klos explained, “The inspiration and production for this show comes at a unique time in our global history and during a breakthrough in my personal history. The works here span multiple media and cut across many disciplines, hopefully providing many entry points for Wellin’s diverse community of thinkers.

The exhibition includes more than a dozen other works of art, including four wall sculptures composed of industrial welding and traditional African tribal masks representing an amalgamation of the artist’s “genealogical and creative DNA”.

About Yashua Klos

Yashua Klos (born in 1977 in Chicago, Illinois) lives and works in Brooklyn. He has had solo exhibitions at Galerie Anne de Villepoix in Paris, Jack Tilton Gallery in New York and UTA Artist Space in Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited at the California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles; Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg; International Printing Center of New York (IPCNY), New York; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; among others.

His works are in the collections of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, the Pizzuti Collection, the Seattle Art Museum and the Wellin Museum of Art. He earned an MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York in 2009 and a BFA from Northern Illinois University in 2000.

Wellin Museum of Art Visitor Information

The Wellin Museum of Art hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vaccinated, boosted and masked visitors are welcome. The museum is located on the campus of Hamilton College on College Hill Road at Griffin Road. Parking and admission are free. For more information, contact the Wellin Museum of Art at 315-859-4396 or visit the website at www.hamilton.edu/wellin.

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