Roya Motamedi pared her subject matter and palette to two colors and two shapes for the four major paintings in her latest show. These images (all oil on canvas) nod to Ellsworth Kelly’s composition and color, while exploring the additional territories of texture and metaphor. “I was trying to create the simplicity that I love in Kelly, and find myself in it,” Motamedi says of the new work. For Motamedi, the process of finding herself in a painting is much like the effort to locate herself culturally. The artist grew up splitting time between Japan and Afghanistan, her parents’ homelands, and for the past 25 years has been adapting to life in the United States. “This is my third culture and I neither belong nor feel rejected,” Motamedi says. Yet each day she experiences the alternating pull to assimilate and the push back against what is unfamiliar.
Like Motamedi, LeBrie Rich straddles cultures in her show of collages and mosaics, which are strongly influenced by Japanese aesthetics. During five months of immersive visits in Japan over the last four years, Rich was affected equally by the ancient aesthetic of Japanese gardens, tea houses and textiles, and contemporary Japanese design and culture found in vending machines, consumer goods and typography. These influences are palpable in her playful paper collages, which are abstractions of contemporary images and iconic forms.