Kayla Witt at Sow & Tailor
Feb 11 - Mar 25(All times are in PDT)
Kayla Witt moved to Los Angeles by way of Canada in 2020. In a year marked by a pandemic and nation-wide protests, existential dread became a thing of ubiquity. To better acclimate herself to her new home, Witt drove around LA, using the city’s wellness culture as a way of locating herself amidst the sprawl. Even a short ride reveals no shortage of psychic readers and shops inclined towards the metaphysical, and Witt zeroed in on this, recognizing it as a metaphor for uncertainty.
In “Eat Well You’ll Die Anyway But At Least You’ll Look Better,” (2023) Witt uses crystals, aura photography, and fresh produce as a shorthand for Southern California’s obsession with health and wellness. But she also examines emblems of surveillance in her paintings, like those omnipresent “Smile! You’re on Camera” stickers. Using familiar symbols that feel cheeky yet ominous, Witt builds what she calls “collages” into paintings that combine pencil drawings and acrylics to introduce a bit of skepticism to a culture that seemingly preys on insecurity.
To receive the full weekly coverage from Lindsay Preston Zappas, subscribe to our Art Insider Newsletter at kcrw.com/newsletters.
Photo: Kayla Witt. Alignment, 2023. Oil on canvas. 32” x 41”, courtesy of Sow & Tailor Gallery Los Angeles. Photos by Mason Kuehler