OCTOBER 10 – NOVEMBER 21, 2020

Khara Woods’ grandfather, Yancy, worked as a lumberer at E.L. Bruce Company, once the largest manufacturer of hardwood flooring in the world. His grandfather was a carpenter. Since the pandemic, the artist has researched her family tree and is discovering her use of wood as a primary medium in her work is less an arbitrary choice and more by design.

Art is legacy for Woods. Her greatest influence comes from her mother, who is an accomplished artist. The two collaborated on and painted Wood’s first mural in 2015. Since then, she has worked on several public art projects city-wide and completed her first data visualization mural, Basin Portraits, in October 2019, produced through the Art + Environment Initiative, a program launched by the UrbanArt Commission and funded by Mural Arts Philadelphia.

Artist’s Statement: “I rented a studio almost four years ago to dedicate myself to my art practice in a more intentional way. I decided wood would be a good medium to work with—it’s easy to find, utilitarian. I started by repurposing discarded home improvement pieces I found along the street in my neighborhood. I would use spray paint to embellish the pieces in simple striped patterns, playing with the balance of negative and positive space, and using tape to create a hard edge.

“This year, through an ancestry search, I found out that my grandfathers were woodworkers, one being a well-known and prolific carpenter. Since this discovery, my work is becoming more about finding a deeper connection to my past, honoring the legacy of craftspeople in my family, and less about finding a piece to decorate.”