You Are Your Vessel (2015)
The work of Yashua Klos draws from the artist’s personal experience growing up in Chicago’s South Side, a predominantly African American neighborhood whose history intersects with the ongoing problems of violence and racism within the city. Using his childhood as a point of departure, the artist employs a labor-intensive process in which he creates cut-outs of woodblock-printed textures, which are then collaged together to create compositions that merge multiple perspectives and images.
In You Are Your Vessel, the artist layers the prints so that the face of an African American woman is cut through with a flat, rectangular surface. The face emanates a reserved, quiet atmosphere as the woman’s eyes are closed, while its lower corner is reproduced in a cold shade of grey, as if implying that the woman’s face is being transformed into a slab of concrete. Klos thus enables a poetic representation of the pains of the African American experience, which serves as a “metaphor for the fragmentation of African-American identity” in the artist’s own words.