In her second solo Caldbeck show, Kayla Mohammadi: New Work, Mohammadi will include both large canvases and smaller works on panel. In working from observation, whether it be landscape, interior, or still life, the artist seeks a visual translation rather than a literal portrayal of her subject matter. Her Finnish/Persian heritage is an important influence on her work. Through her sudden and fresh juxtapositions of form and color, she seeks some unexpected place where we, the viewer, may encounter competing energies of memory and observation, and ask ourselves familiar questions: am I standing on solid ground, or being pushed away? Can I walk into this space? Or finally, am I stepping through to a new place? In her new work she pushes her imagery to become even more abstract. The color is also more pure, which gives the work an edgier, vibrant touch. “I have always loved color”, she explains, “Color is what attracted me to painting, and it is what keeps me painting – painting is where I explore how color relates to space, shape, and feeling. My ambition is to delight the eye – I hope that this work accomplishes that goal”. Mohammadi is first generation American, born in San Francisco, CA, to a Finnish mother and Iranian father. She says, “like most Americans whose parents immigrated to this country, I grew up with influences beyond the typical suburban landscape. My way of seeing the world was shaped by three different cultures: American, Finnish, and Persian. From my mother I have early memories of bright, bold shapes of Scandanavian design, and from my father, I was introduced to poetic blues and rhythms of Islamic tile, as well as the intricate patterns in Persian rugs. And America gave me a totally different context in which to develop my inherited understanding of art”.
Mohammadi received her MFA from Boston University. Awards include the 2013 Joan Mitchell Artist Residency Award in New Orleans LA, The 2008 Joan Mitchell Foundation Award for painters, The Dedalus Foundation Award for 2008 Vermont Studio School Fellowship, The 2006 Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant, Blanche E. Coleman Award for 2004, The Constantin Alajalov Scholarship, and Vermont Studio School Fellowship in 2001. She has been a juror for the Boston Young Contemporary Exhibition and the 2009 Rhode Island Council for the Arts Award, and the Harvard Reflection in Action Judging Program. Her lectures in the Fine Arts include the Massachusetts College of Arts, Brandeis University, St. Mary's College in Maryland, the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Northeastern University, and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. Collections include the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, The Victory Fund, the University of Washington, the NYU Langone Medical Center, and Boston University.
For a concurrent review of Kayla's new work, please go to: http://artsake.massculturalcouncil.org/blog/artsake/index.php/2013/08/12/studio-views-kayla-mohammadi/