NEWS

  • Exhibition: The Flat Files at The Pit, opening 8/4



    Please join us this Sunday, August 4th from 4-7pm for the opening reception of The Flat Files, a group show of works on paper by 80 artists in all three of The Pit's gallery spaces.  

    The exhibition will be on view to the public with normal gallery hours from August 4 - 10th.  From August 11th - 25th the exhibition will be by appointment only.  
  • PRESS: Art of Choice Interview, May 2019


    Los Angeles-based artist MAYSHA MOHAMEDI makes large-scale abstract paintings whose bold colors and mark-making represent certain moments in her life. Mohamedi translates her everyday experiences as a woman, a mother, a wife, and an immigrant onto her canvases, pulling inspiration from the iconic calligraphic lines of Farsi, her native language. Here, we learn more about Mohamedi’s intriguing practice.

    Photo credit: Maria Kanevskay

    When did art first enter your life?

    I saw three types of art in my childhood home: my mother’s watercolors of architectural seaside landscapes symbolizing the political climate between Iran and the United States, a coffee table book of Persian miniatures, and my Garfield comics collection. My first museum visit was to the Louvre when I was 18 years old.

     

    Courtesy of The Lodge

    What themes are you exploring in your work?

    Being Persian, being American, language and the evocative power of line, visions of humanity, play, and the emotional valence of primary color combinations from the 1980s.

     

    Courtesy of Gallery 16

    Has your work always taken on an abstract composition?

    I first drew cartoons and then the representational figure; these activities are the foundation of my abstract line.

     

     

    Courtesy of Lowell Ryan Projects

    Why do you use multiple materials, some quite unorthodox, in the creating of your work?

    I want to feel like I am making a mess, stirring a potion, panning for gold, or inventing some new physics when I push an implement onto a surface. Unorthodox materials yield unpredictable marks and special collisions of color and line.

     

    What artists most inspire you?

    I am drawn to artists who prioritize discovery in their work. Diedrick Brackens, Trulee Hall, and Simphiwe Ndzube are three Los Angeles artist who consistently show me something I have never seen before.

     

     

    You studied science as an undergrad. How does this world enter into your artistic practice?

    The scientific method is about putting forth a hypothesis and then testing its validity through experimentation. One’s findings are verified in a peer reviewed journal and then accepted by the scientific community. It’s possible to apply metrics to artwork, too: for example, I have read that predominantly green paintings are sold far less frequently than paintings of any other color. But, the way in which an artwork is deemed successful by the art community – positive reviews, acquisition by important collections, sales – is statistically unbound by the variables that motivated its creation in the first place. The artist has 100% control over defining and presenting what’s meaningful. I am cognizant of this absolute freedom when I am in the studio.

     

    You recently opened a solo show “Deep Seep” at Left Field Gallery. Can you tell us about the body of work on view?

    “Deep Seep” opened in my hometown of San Luis Obispo, California. While making the paintings, I repeatedly listened to a moody ballad about young love called “Thirteen,” by Big Star. The song reminds me of the chronic sense of longing I felt while growing up in a small town and of my parental desire for my sons to experience romantic love one day. I tried to channel all this deep emotion, welling up from two poles of my life – young girl and now, mother – into the paintings. This work also comprises my most rigorous exploration of tar and oil to date; beach tar hand-collected from the California Coast, ashy roofing tar, and oil paint all presented on single surfaces.

     

    What are you most excited for this year?

    More studio; more time with my boys; more beach; a little less Instagram.

     

    At the end of every interview, we like to ask the artist to recommend a friend whose work you love for us to interview next. Who would you suggest?

    DIEDRICK BRACKENSTRULEE HALl, and SIMPHIWE NDZUBE

  • EXHIBITION: Household Effects at La Loma Projects, 4/14/19

    You are invited to attend the opening of La Loma Projects,
    a new art space in a home on the edge of Eagle Rock and Pasadena. 
    HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS
    an inaugural group show 
    curated by Kirk Nelson and Jennifer Rochlin
     
    April 14 - April 28, 2019
    Alex Becerra
    Edgar Bryan
    Gerald Davis
    Dave Deany 
    Mari Eastman
    Mark Grotjahn
    Jessica Jackson Hutchins
    Caitlin Lonegan
    Maysha Mohamedi
    Rebecca Morris
    Jennifer Rochlin
    Joe Sola
     
    Reception 
    Sunday, April 14
    4-7 pm
     
    **food and drink
    street parking limited / rideshare encouraged
     
    LA LOMA PROJECTS
    1357 Brixton Road (at La Loma)
    Pasadena, California 91105
    626.272.8730
    Gallery hours: Friday 2-6 pm, Saturday 12-6 pm, Sunday 2-5 pm & by appointment  
  • EXHIBITION: Deep Seep opens at Left Field Gallery on March 2nd, 2019

    Deep Seep

    Maysha Mohamedi

    March 2 - March 31, 2019

    Opening Reception SATURDAY, March 2nd, 5-8 pm
     

    Left Field Gallery
    1036 Los Osos Valley Rd.
    Los Osos, CA 93402

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    Left Field Gallery presents Deep Seep, an exhibition of new paintings by Los Angeles based artist Maysha Mohamedi. This is the artist's first solo exhibition with the gallery. It will be on view from March 2 - March 31, 2019, with an opening reception on Saturday, March 2nd from 5 - 8pm.

    Maysha Mohamedi is an Iranian-American painter who was raised in San Luis Obispo and now lives and works in Los Angeles. Her studio is located in the Fashion District in Downtown LA. She has exhibited widely in New York and Los Angeles, including exhibitions at The Lodge, The Hole, The Pit and Lowell Ryan Projects. She is also a founding member of the Los Angeles art collective, The Binder. Mohamedi is the recipient of several awards and residences, ranging from a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Tokyo, to an AICAD New York Studio Residency. Her work has been profiled in the LA Times, The Huffington Post, SF Arts Quarterly and The Conversation Art Podcast.

    For the exhibition, Deep Seep, Mohamedi once again constructs a group of paintings that weave between idiosyncratic worlds that are both visible and invisible, while also being generous with a gestural language and mark-making techniques inspired by an open-ended and unrestrained use of materials. Beach tar collected near her home and rare paint, procured from Iran, are applied to the surface using unorthodox writing implements such as found crayon nubs, re-purposed coffee stirrers and a stale Red Vine candy.  Freed from linguistic association, the shapes generated serve as jumping off points for improvisation, much like the calligraphic nature of her first language - Farsi - which operates simultaneously as abstract and narrative. Mohamedi's capacity to reinvent her mark-making underscore a rigorous exploration, yielding paintings that are patterned, expansive and inexplicably pleasurable.
     

    leftfieldgallery.com
     

    For All Inquires Please CONTACT

    Nick Wilkinson

    leftfieldslo@gmail.com

    805 305 9292

  • PRESS: Flaunt Magazine Interview for Mind Body Soul

    MIND BODY SOUL INSTALLMENT

    BY PAULETTE ELY

    The inaugural Exhibit, Mind Body Soul, was the talk of the town at the Lowell Ryan Projects back in January. The show is an masterpiece of masterpieces from the visions of artists Spencer Lewis, Samuel Jablon and Maysha Mohamedi. We got a few words in with these creative contributors to get a better feel for the inspirations and implications of their work. 

    Maysha Mohamedi

    Mohamedi_Flaunt002.jpg

    How did you discover your sensibility as an artist? Did you immediately identify with your Iran roots and Farsi calligraphy as a means to your vision or did it take time to discover? 

    I discovered my artistic sensibility at 10 years old. My mom took me to a remote wholesale plant nursery and as I was walking through the aisles by myself, an invisible, oncoming force seized my neck with what felt like a latticed burning sensation. Around the same time I read a Salvador Dali biography which included an anecdote from his childhood about how he used to lie naked in the sun with cornmeal poured on top of his genitals, allowing the cornmeal to dry and pop in the heat; I didn't understand the implications of why he aimed to generate that particular sensation, but I knew I wanted to live my life in service of creating idiosyncratic worlds that are both visible and invisible, inexplicable, pleasurable and wondrous. Farsi was my first language and backgammon was my first board game, but I identified more with being a California surfer girl while growing up. I've since rediscovered my Persian self and now I am like Scrooge McDuck, joyously flapping around in the sea of riches that is my own cultural heritage. 

    What attracts you to tar as an artistic medium? Is it directly related to your writings about interactions with the natural world?

    What attracts me to the tar is that it exists entirely outside of consumerism. Prospecting, collecting and distilling this material for use as paint further imbues each mark with meaning because the entire life cycle of the mark originates from my hand alone.  The beach tar is also gorgeous and the richest black color I've ever seen. Black form a tube is notoriously lacking in depth and richness.  

    Was your process any different for these two pieces being they were created on site?

    The main difference was painting with an audience. For example, I won't make a mark on the surface unless I am 100% compelled to - which means sometimes I sit in my chair watching the painting for long stretches of time - and I felt a bit self-conscious of this apparent idleness in front of the construction crew who was working tirelessly to finish the gallery. 

  • PRESS: Squarecylinder Review of Blast Off From Earth

    Maysha Mohamedi is thinking ahead – way ahead — to a time 62 years hence when humans have migrated to Kepler-442b, an extrasolar planet thought to be capable of sustaining life.  Her contribution to this fictional effort – an exhibition called Blast Off from Earth!! – is intended to function as a time capsule, signaling to extraterrestrials, the nature of Earth-bound existence circa 2019.  Should such an event take place, it would join the Golden Record, a collection of audio recordings and images that NASA sent into space in 1977.  While these space shots (Voyager I and II) were meant to portray the diversity of human experience, Blast Off, an exhibition of eight abstract paintings, represents only Mohamedi’s.  Her idiosyncratic works consist of pencil marks, imprints, calligraphic scrawls, and glyph-like shapes, which, when arrayed across canvases large and small, read more like prehistoric cave paintings than artifacts of a post-industrial superpower.  

    Each piece is a puzzle whose components suggest a variety of things: bird tracks, teeth, musical notation and letters, some recognizable, some not.  The latter are derived from Farsi, a language the LA-born artist acquired from her Iranian parents but never learned to read

    Flight Manifest for Woman Astronaut, 2019, acrylic and oil on canvas, 13 x 15 inches.

    or write.  Consequently, the shapes carry emotional resonance, but no literal meaning.  Freed from linguistic association, the “letters” serve as jumping off points for improvisation.  Stretched, bent and severed, they form a recursive library of non-objective forms that call out for interpretation but steadfastly resist it.  Other imprinted and/or painted shapes resembling Matisse’s dancers appear against monochromatic grounds in several large (81 x 65-inch) canvases, while jagged, rawhide-like patterns reminscent of those  Clifford Still painted show up in several smaller canvases.  While much pleasure can be taken from cataloging the variety and textures of these marks, the inference of embedded messages is best seen at distance.  From that vantage, the paintings take on something of the character of Nazca lines: ancient Peruvian earthworks that archeologists have long speculated were created to communicate with gods.  

    While it’s doubtful that space-bound vehicles will take Mohamedi’s paintings into space — digital files would be a likelier bet – it’s heartening to see a young artist thinking along these lines, projecting visions of humanity into an unfathomable future.  In the meantime it will be worth watching to see where the artist goes next with this highly personal iconography. 

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    Maysha Mohamedi: “Blast Off from Earth!!” @ Gallery 16 through March 29, 2019. 

    About the author:

    David M. Roth is the editor and publisher of Squarecylinder.