New YorkMaysha Mohamedi: I am the Oncoming Voices
Halsey McKay presents, I am the Oncoming Voices, Maysha Mohamedi’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition consists of four boldly saturated oil paintings that act as mental maps resulting from a series of translations. Mohamedi’s formal compositions represent painted translations from Middle Eastern to Western culture, from photographic image to abstract shape, from emotion to language to line.
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Mohamedi begins with a life event or feeling to address. She translates these emotions into a group of related words like shadow, shame, sun and looks them up in her Persian-English dictionary. While she can understand and speak Farsi, she cannot read or write it so the alphabet becomes inspiration for abstract linear mark-making. These gestural, fine marks pay homage to the delicate flowing strokes of Farsi script until they become their own final interpretation of the theme.
Mohamedi sources the color palette for each painting from images in the 1972 Family Circle Illustrated Library of Cooking, a publication from an era ripe with the propaganda of manicured Americana. For the triangular forms in Sun’s Out Guns Out, Mohamedi extracted islands and peninsulas of gold, cerulean and rose from the illustrated recipe “for a crowd” of glazed pork shoulder, party meatloaf and a casoulet.
The book offers recipes and cooking methods alongside domestic lifestyle instructions, from how to arrange a table to how to welcome guests into your home. Growing up in a Iranian household rich with inherited recipes and traditions of food, home, and gathering, this American take on feeding and hosting others became a touchstone resource for her. The vintage printing and atmosphere of the book acts as a color guide to represent her family’s Persian culture being woven into the fabric of life as new Americans, and the role of radical domesticity she has reclaimed in caring for her own family today.
Maysha Mohamedi is an Iranian-American painter who was raised in San Luis Obispo and now lives and works in Los Angeles. She has exhibited widely in New York and Los Angeles, including exhibitions at Nicelle Beauchene, The Lodge, The Pit, Lowell Ryan Projects, Fourteen 30 in Portland and Gallery 16 in San Francisco. Mohamedi is also a founding member of the Los Angeles art collective, The Binder of Women. 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 Artforum, the LA Times, The Huffington Post, SF Arts Quarterly and The Conversation Art Podcast among others.
Courtesy of the artist and Halsey McKay Gallery, New York