2004 Kala Board Prize Exhibition: You are Here
Kala Art Institute is pleased to announce David Hamill, Jonn Herschend and Sarah Smith as the recipients of the 2005 Kala Board Prize. Hamill, Herschend and Smith’s collaborative exhibition proposal was selected from a highly competitive pool of California artists by juror, Yuzo Nakano, Kala’s co-founder and Artistic Director. The exhibition is accompanied by a cash honorarium donated through the generosity of the Kala Board of Directors. Their exhibition titled You are Here presents paintings, drawings and sculpture in an installation that examines cultural identity in the United States. Ranging from visions of our nation’s inception to a sterilized Utopian future, You are Here asks us to reconsider our national mythology with this thoughtful and engaging exhibition.
Although the work of Hamill, Herschend and Smith make connections both conceptually and stylistically, the artists maintain distinct individual voices. David Hamill presents a series of drawings that depict the development and dissolution of a fractured, abstract architectural world. These large scale watercolor drawings address the inevitability of decline in even our most utopian of visions.
Jonn Herschend’s work creates a narrative around the loss of innocence. Dealing with the maudlin elements of betrayal, loss, and denial, he explores the current rift in America between the heartland and the coastal urban centers through literary iconography and metaphor. His oil on panel paintings are installed within the gallery space so that although the work functions as a narrative, it becomes one that is felt rather than read by the viewer.
Sarah Smith’s work explores a reverence for what’s lost by creating monuments to a forest that no longer exists. Her large-scale, free-standing sculptural work is literally a monumental altar or mausoleum that blends architectural and natural elements with tromp l’oeil painting and scavenged plywood. Smith’s set-like installation suggests that in capitalist America, nature may be dead but it lives on in our collective soul.