Portrait of Maysha Mohamedi © Megan Cerminaro


Pace Welcomes Maysha Mohamedi

Published Tuesday, Apr 12, 2022

Pace Gallery is pleased to announce its global representation of the Los Angeles-based artist Maysha Mohamedi, who is known for her singular approach to calligraphic abstraction and Color Field painting. Mohamedi will present her first solo exhibition in New York with Pace in 2023.

A self-taught artist raised in San Luis Obispo, California, Mohamedi creates paintings that function as maps of sensation, cognition, and experience. Her compositions are indices of the complex manifolds of selfhood and identity. Suggesting an aesthetic of fragmentation, her paintings are also laboratories in which to explore the expressive possibilities of color. Through a distinct visual lexicon of forms, symbols, and calligraphic marks, the artist infuses her canvases with a rhythmic energy that suggests the unfolding of poetry. Grounding her palettes in specific moments in time, Mohamedi uses abstraction to summon life through color and line, oscillating between gesture and stillness. The varied marks and lines that proliferate across her compositions produce an oneiric quality, as if the complex layers of form and color were part of an arcane choreography conjured by the artist’s ritual gestures.

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Maysha Mohamedi, Solemnity in the Antechamber of Dread, 2022, oil on canvas, 88" × 99" (223.5 cm × 251.5 cm) © Maysha Mohamedi

Mohamedi’s paintings are spaces for investigating qualities of contact or touch. The artist often applies paint directly to her canvases using her hands and, by way of this technique, the surface of her works become tactile expressions of immediate encounters in the present moment. Mohamedi’s marks are reminiscent of writing, yet her paintings resist the totalizing powers of language and the tyranny of rationality. “I knew that what I wanted to say was something I usually could not define in language,” the artist has said of her work. “The link between my brain, my hand, and the surface has to be as direct as possible … There are so many touches I make on the surface that are not visible, but I believe and hope they are observable.”

Defined by a unique approach to color, Mohamedi’s paintings can be understood in conversation with those of Abstract Expressionist forebears like Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, and Joan Mitchell, as well as Color Field painters like Mark Rothko and Sam Gilliam, and a range of other pioneering abstractionists that have blurred the line between the graphic and painterly mark, in particular Cy Twombly. Vibrant and playful, Mohamedi’s innovative paintings point toward a new mode of atmospheric abstraction that registers certain conditions specific to Los Angeles—and to American life as a whole—in the early 21st century.

Reflecting her personal history, everyday experiences, and key constellations in her own cultural matrix as a woman of Iranian descent, Mohamedi’s palette is both purely abstract and directly connected to the patchwork of landscapes, objects, and environments that comprise her life. These range from an Ojai, California playground the artist visited with her children to clippings from cookbooks and magazines to sea glass found on the shore. Mohamedi’s works are above all reflections of her own thinking, crystallized as moments of haptic communion. The artist’s academic background in neuroscience can be traced in the liveliness and expansiveness of her paintings. Liberated from the constraints and dictates of the three-dimensional world, these immersive works exude a sense of freedom and illimitability. For Mohamedi, the viewer is an equal creator in this shared universe of boundless possibilities.

Maysha Mohamedi says:
“I came to an agreement with the painting Solemnity in the Antechamber of Dread, humbly asking it to ferry me to my next stop in life, to act as both charm and friend during a difficult personal moment. The progression of my life is marked by paintings. I’ve been buoyed by Arne Glimcher, who has long established the model of providing safety and intellectual rigor to his artists so that they might trailblaze with dynamism. Marc echoes this approach and brings an ability to brilliantly deviate from expectation. The title of the aforementioned painting comes from Anne Dufourmantelle’s In Praise of Risk, in which the philospher wrote, 'The exercise of power requires solemnity, which places us in the antechamber of dread...' Today, I embark on a new experiment with my destiny as I join Pace Gallery.”

Pace President and CEO Marc Glimcher says:
“We are so excited to announce that Maysha Mohamedi will be joining Pace. Maysha’s work employs subtractive techniques where colorful forms are sliced and assembled by a network of linear elements that recall writing and automatism. She weaves a response with her abstraction to real world incidents, encounters, and experiences. Her vocabulary of abstractions, like all greater painters, negotiates and navigates the mundane and the miraculous situations of life. We look forward to bringing her work to our audiences around the world.”

In recent years, the artist has been the subject of solo exhibitions with Parrasch Heijnen Gallery, Los Angeles; Massimo De Carlo, Paris; Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton; and The Lodge, Los Angeles. Her work has been presented in group exhibitions at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, Oregon; and other spaces.

Learn more about Maysha Mohamedi.
  • News — Maysha Mohamedi Joins Pace Gallery, Apr 12, 2022