Commonwealth and Council

FOG Design+Art San Francisco

Rosha Yaghmai


For FOG 2024, Commonwealth and Council presents a solo booth of work by Rosha Yaghmai. Exploring questions of memory, inheritance, and perspective, her dark yet luminescent Afterimage paintings obfuscate and abstract imagery from Persian miniatures, removing the historical figures from her source material, zooming in on landscape details. Invoking the aesthetics of lenticular prints, Yaghmai layers painted organza to create depth and moiré patterns in the hazy compositions. Through this process, the work favors distortion and opacity over representation and resolute clarity.

The artist's practice is informed by her upbringing in southern California as a first-generation Persian American. Yaghmai’s family returned to the United States where Yaghmai was born at the start of the Iranian Revolution. While closely identifying with the cultural and geographical landscape in which she has spent her entire life, Yaghmai’s work also speaks to her ties to a place she has never visited but also considers her homeland, an attenuated knowledge and perspective she characterizes as like living with a phantom limb.

The artist’s sculptural practice, rooted in Southern California surrealism, nods to these ideas and her multifarious archive of references. The simple arch-shaped benches in the booth, aglow with UV light, recall park benches ubiquitous in California in the '80s. Hence the dreamscapes recurrent in Yaghmai’s work highlight how our identities and worldviews are not fixed and monolithic but rather comprise an agglomeration of our experiences and knowledge as well as biases and inherited values.

Rosha Yaghmai (b. 1978, Los Angeles; lives and works in Los Angeles) received an MFA from California Institute of the Arts (2007) and a BFA from School of Visual Arts, New York (2021). Solo exhibitions have been held at Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles (2023); Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (2022); Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation, Ojai (2022); Kayne Griffin Gallery, Los Angeles (2021); Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco (2019); Cleopatra’s, Brooklyn (2016); and Weiss, Berlin (2016). Selected group exhibitions have been held at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield (2017); Tate St Ives, Cornwall (2017); Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (2018); The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (2018); The Finley, Los Angeles (2018); Marciano Foundation, Los Angeles (2018); Human Resources, Los Angeles (2016); Public Fiction, Los Angeles (2014); and Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2008). Yaghmai is a recipient of California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists (2019), Villa Aurora Fellowship (2016), and Terra Foundation Fellowship (2009). She also works with Pace, Los Angeles.

Yaghmai’s work is in the collections of Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.