Ya La'Ford – Survey: The West

Survey: The West | Ya La’ford

Survey: The West represents an experiential journey throughout Utah and the surrounding region through the eyes of OCA Artist-in-Residence Ya La’ford, an internationally recognized painter, installation artist, muralist, social practice artist and educator from New York City. Her art, she hopes, is a universal language that will connect the Utah community, inspiring us to renew our perspective of the West and reconsider our relationship to the boundaries shaped in the landscape through geological forces or defined by the early pioneers.

The work embodies La’ford’s personal exploration of western land, culture, and history, emphasizing Ogden as the focal point and symbolic gateway to her experience – aligning with our city’s historic reputation as the “Gateway to the West.” During her two-month residency at OCA, La’ford immersed herself in the local community while also touring every surrounding state and its iconic landmarks: Arches National Park, the Spiral Jetty, Four Corners National Monument, Yellowstone National Park, Navajo Nation and much more. These experiences informed her work, from the natural pigmentation of her paint, to the copper coating of her sculptures, to the sights and sounds of her installations. The work visually references La’ford’s signature linear and cyclical geometric labyrinths, which for the first time incorporate mountainous imagery and western symbolism.

Survey: The West not only illuminates the natural wonders of the West from a new perspective, but is also an invitation for our community to get involved in its protection and preservation.

“This exhibit acknowledges and challenges how we determine boundaries through the historical process of surveying land while also offering the idea that beyond the drawn lines, there is boundlessness. The naked formations of the West are magical and have given me a new embodiment of what it means to be an American.” – Ya La’ford