Volitionaries Anna Mayer and Rosha Yaghmai IMAGES
Commonwealth & Council presents Volitionaries, an exhibition of work by Anna Mayer and Rosha Yaghmai. Volitionaries is the first of three successive exhibitions that propose distinct collaborative approaches to shared exhibition theme and design.
Volitionaries was initially inspired by folklore about Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904), who is remembered in part for her attempts to experience French Algeria by dressing as a man to travel freely throughout the country. Complicating turn of the 20th-century colonialism with a commitment to embodied knowledge, Eberhardt was insistent about acknowledging the vulnerability of her position. In preparation for Volitionaries, Mayer and Yaghmai considered and then departed from Eberhardt's narrative and went on to establish a set of shared ideas that formed the initial working premises for the exhibition. Themes include: the importance of firsthand knowledge; a recognition that a body's relationship to where it is physically located is malleable; the way in which language allows us to fantasize and ground ourselves; and what can be gleaned from materializing the construction of the self. Mayer and Yaghmai incorporated their respective projections about Eberhardt into an examination of the power of their own wills and how the remoteness of contemporary times can be alleviated and exaggerated by grounded material engagement. As a result of the way the artists set up a collective consciousness from which to generate their individual works for the show, they expanded and contracted away from and towards each other throughout the process, modeling how one can stay conscious and autonomous while still in relation to others.
Volitionaries situates new sculptures by both Mayer and Yaghmai alongside drawings, photographs, and the constant and welcoming presence of text. The two artists' work will appear in relation to each other throughout the two galleries of Commonwealth & Council, their intertwinement setting the tone for the epistemological dialogue created by the exhibition layout. The artists themselves are eager to experience the conversations created by the work being generated and displayed in this fashion.
Anna Mayer has presented solo exhibitions at Night Gallery (LA), Sea and Space Explorations (LA), and Planthouse (NY, forthcoming). Group exhibitions include: the Hammer Museum; University Art Museum at CalState Long Beach; Luckman Gallery (LA); Cerritos College Art Gallery (CA); A.I.R. (Artists in Residence) Gallery in Brooklyn; and Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery (NY). Mayer presented Negative Sessions at Pomona College Museum of Art in 2012. In addition to her solo practice, Mayer works with Jemima Wyman as CamLab, a performance-based collaboration. CamLab has exhibited and performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Hammer Museum, Torrance Art Museum, Wildness at the Silver Platter, and the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum's ArtLab+ program. Mayer received a Master of Fine Arts degree from California Institute of the Arts in 2007. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
Rosha Yaghmai has presented solo exhibitions at Thomas Solomon Gallery (LA), TAT (Berlin), and Tif's Desk (LA and Miami). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Thomas Solomon gallery (LA), Luckman Gallery (LA), Public Fiction (LA), LACE (LA), Estacion Tijuana (Mexico), GBK (Sydney), Riverside Art Museum (LA), and Transmission Gallery (Glasgow). Yaghmai received a Master of Fine Arts degree from California Institute of the Arts in 2007, and was a Terra Foundation Fellow in 2009. She lives and works in Los Angeles and is represented by Thomas Solomon Gallery.