Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present Easy Journey to Other Planets, an exhibition of new works by Rosha Yaghmai and her first with the gallery.
This group of new sculptures stems from Yaghmai’s ongoing experimentation with materials, in this instance incorporating ‘elemental’ substances—each found in its natural state on our planet and those beyond—such as graphite, iron, aluminum, neon, copper, nickel, bentonite clay, and mineral pigments. In Easy Journey to Other Planets the result could be described as a silent scene in faux outer space; an expedition through Yaghmai’s manipulation of form, motif, and material.
While drawing references to the tradition of West Coast conceptualism, Yaghmai’s vernacular also recalls the layered and crumbling façades of Los Angeles—from fringe mysticism to psychedelic drugs, yard sales to DIY architecture, led by the likes of dropouts, tinkerers, and cult leaders. A hand-sewn ‘umbrella’ made from space blankets wilts above a heavily rusted pool chair, propped into place by the weight of a sand bag. Nearby, a collection of neon ‘tools’ hangs from a rod in the wall, their glow shining like the artificial sunlight of a solarium. Across the floor lay scattered resin forms resembling moon rocks, their textured skins cast from the landscapes of Topanga Canyon and Vasquez Rocks. For each, Yaghmai colored the surface using ‘Mayan’ pigments to mimic the jagged flatness of satellite photography. Against the walls, Yaghmai’s Gates repeat the patterned doorway to the Griffith Observatory, an entrance for accessing unseen depths into space. Hung as reliefs flush to the wall they stand as portals to another dimension. Both the textures and concrete motifs of these works tend to function as stand-ins for something greater, drafting the ‘real’ as a malleable quotation. They relay a distance both pressing urgently against the Earth and suspended high in the atmosphere.
Yaghmai’s sculptures stand like moments of odd pause within a larger sequence of unknown events. Suggesting an arrested action in time and space, the works reflect Yaghmai’s conceptualization of sculpture as essentially depicting stilled movement or a frozen narrative. In Easy Journey to other planets each sculpture insinuates the slumping effects of gravity upon both the objects themselves and the beings that might come into contact with them. Indeed, throughout the exhibition are repeated hints at the reclining figure—a lounging chair, a semi-transparent awning sculpture, or a gateway to the stars imply the body in a tilted position, facing forever upward.
Rosha Yaghmai graduated an MFA at CalArts in 2007, and was a Terra Foundation Fellow in 2009. In 2015 she will be the subject of an exhibition at LAX><Art in Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited at spaces including Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE); Estacion Tijuana, Mexico; Riverside Art Museum, Los Angeles; Transmission Gallery, Glasgow; Public Fiction, Los Angeles; and GBK, Sydney. Yaghmai lives and works in Los Angeles.
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