Khara Woods: Axis

Jul 24, 2021 — Dec 18, 2021

Khara Woods uses materials, pattern, and abstraction to great effect in her studio practice. Her gridded hard-edge compositions incorporate warm wood grain with a bold, personable palette of saturated colors. The intensity of the color and tightly packed lines in this exhibition create a visual effect in each work of art whereby the bold colors and uniform patterns may cause a patient viewer to perceive vibrations and pulses across the face of each painting. This is a result of the color and light receptors in their eyes confusing the two sensations with each other. This physiological phenomenon enables various patterns within patterns to emerge, illustrating surprising amount of depth in seemingly flat compositional spaces.

Other than being viscerally pleasurable to observe, Woods pursues moire effects and chooses her materials with purpose. During the pandemic, she began researching her family history and learned that she comes  om a line of artists and cra speople. Her mother N.J. Woods is a renowned A ican-American, Memphis-based artist whose father, Yancy Richmond piqued her interest in art as a child with his love of painting winter landscapes. Richmond, Khara Woods’s grandfather, was also a lumberer at E.L. Bruce Company, and in turn, his father was a carpenter who helped shape the built environment of Byhalia, Mississippi outside of Memphis, Tennessee. It seems only natural that Khara Woods is interested in painting and incorporates raw wood grain into her practice; it represents the depth of connection she has to her creative and ancestral lineage. Her unique contribution to this lineage is the incorporation of a contemporary design aesthetic inspired by the Memphis Group, Art Deco, and offset printing techniques like the use of Ben-Day dots to create shading andcolor in images.

Woods’s use of materials is metaphorical in that it represents her family lineage. Of equal importance is how she presents her work in grids and patterns that can be interpreted as cyclical and repeating. Toward this end, her visually dynamic use of grids is a nod towards analytical charts and family trees. She uses this association to ground herself within her sense of family and its stability. In the context of this exhibition, each work of art is arranged in relationship to one another according to an unseen grid. This use of space invites the creation of connections between each work of art in much the same way that Woods is in conversation with her family history.

Khara Woods is a rising star in Memphis, Tennessee. Since she has completed four public murals with the most recent being funded by the Urban Art Commission and Mural Arts Philadelphia. She is also the New Public Sculptors Fellow for the Urban Art Commission in Memphis. Her recent exhibitions include Young, Gifted, and Dope at Marshall Arts and a solo exhibition at Beverly + Sam Ross Gallery titled Inside-Out.

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