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 EFFECTSan inaugural group showcurated by Kirk Nelson and Jennifer RochlinApril 14 - April 28, 2019Alex BecerraEdgar BryanGerald DavisDave DeanyMari EastmanMark GrotjahnJessica Jackson HutchinsCaitlin LoneganMaysha MohamediRebecca MorrisJennifer RochlinJoe SolaReceptionSunday, April 144-7 pm**food and drinkstreet parking limited / rideshare encouragedLA LOMA PROJECTS1357 Brixton Road (at La Loma)Pasadena, California 91105626.272.8730Gallery hours: Friday 2-6 pm, Saturday 12-6 pm, Sunday 2-5 pm & by appointment
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.
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MIND BODY SOUL INSTALLMENT
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.
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.
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
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.
Lowell Ryan Projects is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition, Mind Body Soul. The show brings together three artists––Samuel Jablon, Spencer Lewis, and Maysha Mohamedi––to explore the complex relationship between abstract painting and our everyday surroundings. “Everyday surroundings” encompasses a full spectrum of definitions, from the poetics of the city (Jablon), to formal notions of spatiality (Lewis), to the aesthetics of language and earth matter as art materials (Mohamedi). Likewise, the tone varies from spiritual to ironic to referential to irreverent––sometimes overlapping. Despite all these differences, the three artists share the same foundational approach. They rely on gesture and color––or more specifically the medium of painting––as a tool to probe their surroundings.
Maysha Mohamedi’s gesture is greatly informed by the Farsi calligraphy of her ancestral home, Iran; yet from its mystic traditions she also gives credence to fate. Relying on both intention and intuition, the L.A. artist collects tar from beaches and then uses found objects (sometimes affixed to long sticks) to stamp or otherwise mark her canvas. It distances the learnedness of her hand, by rendering a painting like an asemic writing about her interactions (physical and otherwise) with the earth that feels deeply personal and universal. The two works in the show are Mohamedi’s largest to date and were created on site for the show. Likewise, Samuel Jablon begins his “poem-paintings” by encountering, gathering, and editing source text from conversations and advertisements on the streets of New York City. Expanding the idea of the found object à la John Cage, he then works words like emptiness, trouble and ravenous onto a canvas by thickly applying, densely layering, and sanding down paint. The result is work that exudes immediacy and prolonged negotiation.
It’s a visual pacing that we also find in L.A. artist Spencer Lewis’ works on jute and cardboard. Starting each work with a quickly rendered (often spray painted) and rational underlying structure, Lewis then wields the brush in a more bodily manner. His gesture becomes intuitive, frenetic, and abstract yet also practiced, figurative, and repetitive, as if translating the history of human pose and movement. Then, relinquishing all control to his surroundings, he stacks the cardboard works and lets them sully, bend, and deteriorate. Paradoxically, it is through this intentional neglect that Lewis’ works undergo unintentional final edits.
Using a variety of approaches, the artists in Mind Body Soul all create paintings that remind us to pay attention––both with our eyes and our psyche––to our surroundings. Which raises another, more complex relationship forged by these paintings: that of matter and essence. Mohamedi’s works exist across worlds; each mark is natural (biochemical) and supernatural (mystical), and also somewhere in between (cultural). Jablon’s words are also not words; they dissolve into form and force the reader to wonder, should I be reading or viewing? Lewis is painting on things and also painting things; the double-sided works become sculptural, regardless of whether they are free standing or leaning against the wall. Ultimately, all the works make us consider what it is to be a human in the world, a deeply personal but also universal relationship where we each define our own terms of engagement. Yet, because each artist takes a different approach, we’re left to wonder–– what will we decide?
In light of this year’s devastating fires in California, Lowell Ryan Projects will donate 10% of all the gallery’s proceeds from their inaugural show Mind Body Soul to the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation.
Maysha Mohamedi is an Iranian-American painter who lives and works in Los Angeles. Her abstract works investigate the potentials of fate and play. Her approach is rooted in her cross-cultural and multidisciplinary background; and her source material is equally varied, from Farsi calligraphy she references, to black tar she collects from LA beaches, to detritus she comes across in LA. Mohamedi has exhibited throughout the United States with a recent solo show at The Lodge (2018) and group shows at ESXLA (2018), Guerrero Gallery (2018), Big Pictures Los Angeles (2018), The Hole (2017), Dalton Warehouse (2017), and The Pit (2017). Her work has been written about in numerous publications including LA Times (2018), San Francisco Chronicle (2018), and Hyperallergic (2018).
Spencer Lewis is an American painter who lives and works in Los Angeles. His works, which are composed on cardboard or jute, probe painting beyond its traditional 2-dimensional consideration. Painting on both sides, he also works across the duality of “muscle formalism” and gestural abstraction, where highly practiced and unplanned elements meet in a complex dialogue. Lewis has a forthcoming solo show with Harper’s Apartment. He has also recently had solo shows with Nino Mier Gallery (2016), Harper’s Apartment (2017), and Edward Cella (2014), among others. He has also been featured in many group exhibitions, such as at Et Al (2016), Irvine Fine Arts Center (2014), and Monique van Genderen (2012). His work has also been written about in publications including East Hampton Star (2018), ARTnews (2017), LA Weekly (2008), and NY Times Style Magazine (2006).
Samuel Jablon is an American painter and poet who lives and works in New York City. His works explore legibility in painting and physicality of language. Treating words like found objects, he thickly applies paint in a manner that lends tactility and crypticness to the subject of his work, creating a push/pull experience for the viewer. Jablon has exhibited throughout the United States, with solo shows at Freight + Volume (2018, 2016), Ballon Rouge (2018), Diane Rosenstein (2016), and Arts & Leisure (2016). His selected group exhibitions include venues such as Pierogi Gallery (2018), Mindy Solomon Gallery (2017), and Life on Mars (2014). His work has also been exhibited at museums including Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2018), Queens Museum (2014), Museum of Modern Art (2013), Socrates Sculpture Park (2013), and New Museum (2013). His work has been written about in Interview Magazine, Art in America, ARTnews, Hyperallergic, and Wall Street Journal, Brooklyn Rail, Cultured Magazine, Artnet News, BOMB Magazine, and Whitehot Magazine, among many other publications.
Lowell Ryan Projects is co-founded and directed by Virginia Martinsen and Mike Weiss. The gallery aims to foster a contemporary art program defined by a strong, visceral, and conceptual approach to art making. Lowell Ryan Projects is located in a 3,000 square foot, ground floor building in historic West Adams at 4851 West Adams Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information please contact Jessica McCormack: firstname.lastname@example.org
East Side International is pleased to present Rubbed Smooth, an exhibition about the complete transformation of surface through repeated touch and exposure. Katherine Aungier, Stef Halmos, Chyrum Lambert, Maysha Mohamedi and Maureen St. Vincent present painting and sculpture resulting from prolonged and sustained physical contact with materials. Their touch can be read as: soft, hard, safe, degrading, skilled, novice, comfort-enhancing, rough, easy, pensive, compulsive and methodical. The textures present in the artwork - both physical and implied - offer a visceral invitation to engage beyond the confines of verbal language. In a world where people just don’t have time to sunbathe anymore, Rubbed Smooth is a visual environment that is fast and slow-absorbing over time.