Ya La’ford painted HCC’s Gallery 221 completely black for her ‘Distance’ exhibition

It’s on view through Feb. 25 on the Dale Mabry campus.

HCC’s Gallery 221 has shown work from a different Black artist every February for as long as I can remember. This year, Gallery Director Amanda Poss lent her space to abstract artist Ya La’ford.

“I’ve got to give her props, because she let me paint the entire space black,” La’ford told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. In “Distance,” La’ford uses the color black as a metaphor for space, the distance between us, and the darkness that descended on 2020. Throughout the process, La’ford asked herself the question, “How can I bring light into this darkness?”

“When you go through distance, it’s really not an answer,” La’ford told CL. “It’s really more about the different ways in which we as the object can be removed from these different dimensions of things that we’re accustomed to, like time and space and social distance. So how do we then recreate and remap and rechart that space in order to make it make sense?”

La’ford explores this idea through paintings, sculpture and a site-specific installation.

“As you go through this show, there’s this play on the possible journeys and passageways out, and the possibilities and outcomes, and this kind of reflection that we all face this together,” says La’ford.

“I think that’s the beauty of the space that we were in. For the first time, it doesn’t matter your class or your age or your gender or where you are situated, we all face this same space of this era that we’re in. And I’m hoping that there’s layered meanings that then connect us to our past that might give us keys and symbols [to] persevere and get out.”

Through Feb. 25, by appointment only. Gallery [email protected] Dale Mabry Campus, 4001 W Tampa Bay Blvd., Tampa. hccfl.edu

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About The Author

Jennifer Ring

Jen began her storytelling journey in 2017, writing and taking photographs for Creative Loafing Tampa. Since then, she’s told the story of art in Tampa Bay through more than 200 art reviews, artist profiles, and art features. She believes that everyone can and should make art, whether they’re good at it or not...
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