Drifters’ exhibition on view at Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara
Rusted pipes and large granite rocks are juxtaposed with delicate layers of organza in “Drifters,” a provocative solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist Rosha Yaghmai, which is on view through Jan. 9 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara.
A Last Look Brunch to catch the final hours of the exhibition will be held from 11 a.m. to noon Jan. 9 at MCASB, located upstairs at Paseo Nuevo in downtown Santa Barbara. Coffee and pastries will be served. The event is free for museum members.
“Ms. Yaghmai’s sculptures, which experiment with found and cast materials, explore themes of transformation and alienation to delve into feelings of foreignness and estrangement. She assembles collections of fragmented objects to alter the familiar and provoke feelings of disconnection of reality,” said Alexandra Terry, chief curator for MCASB.
“Ms. Yaghmai’s work utilizes these provocations to alter the familiar. She uses materials such as silicon and resin for their skin-like translucency and bodily, fleshy quality. She contrasts this softness with hard mediums like cast plaster or fiberglass to contradict the expected.
“Her work often takes shape as an assemblage of fragmented objects that evoke an environment of estrangement. She is most interested in exploring themes of the psychedelic that include feelings of transcendence and otherness. Using architectural structures like gates, doorways, courtyard walls, she hopes to push the feeling of passing through or metamorphosis,” Miss Terry told the News-Press.
Much of the artist’s work subconsciously draws from the exploration of her identity as an Iranian-American, as she felt removed from her own culture as a child.
”Ms. Yaghmai’s father immigrated to California from Tehran to study architecture and met her mother, who is American, while she was a student,” said Miss Terry.
An expanded presentation of her most recent body of work, Ms. Yaghmai’s ‘Afterimages’ is presented in this exhibition at MCASB.
“Afterimages are produced by layering painted organza, creating moiré patterns. Hallucinogenic in appearance, the source material becomes illegible, mirroring the artist’s own challenge of embodying a culture that she has never fully known,” Miss Terry said.
“Large granite rocks, unearthed from the California landscape, counterbalance the diaphanous and dream-like quality of the organza, their terrestrial hulk attempting to ground us in reality. Further departing from a clear understanding of cultural structures, Ms. Yaghmai presents an entanglement of pipes, representing an unearthed system of connection and communication, albeit one that is fragmented and reconfigured.”
Ms. Yaghmai, who was born in Santa Monica and lives and works in Los Angeles, received her master’s in fine arts in 2007 at CalArts.
Her work was the subject of a solo exhibition at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in San Francisco in January 2019 and was also included in the 2018 iteration of “Made in LA” at the Hammer Museum.
She is a Terra Foundation Fellow, Giverny, France, 2009; a Villa Aurora Fellow, Berlin, Germany, 2016; a recipient of the California Community Foundation grant, 2019; The Chara Schreyer Arts Initiative, 2020; and the Bullseye Glass Residency, 2021.
“Ms. Yaghmai’s melding of industrial and hand-made processes situates her work within a long history of sculptural practice in Southern California. She often combines natural elements mined from the earth — iron, aluminum, copper, nickel, clay — with industrially manufactured products, such as silicone, fiberglass and eyeglass lenses,” said Miss Terry.
“By using materials that are familiar yet are deployed in ways that call attention to their uncanny qualities, her installations evoke feelings of estrangement or foreignness. The artist’s previous sculptures have portrayed Los Angeles as weathered by the ravages of time yet open to the psychedelic imagination and the possibility of transcendence.”