Tif Sigfrids is happy to announce the opening of an exhibition featuring work by John Fahey and Rosha Yaghmai in our New York location (75 E. Broadway). The show will open with a reception Saturday, February 26th from 4-6 PM and remain on view through April 2nd. This is the galleries second time exhibiting the work of Fahey and the first time presenting the work of Yaghmai. The show includes three new sculptures by Rosha Yaghmai and four paintings created by John Fahey at the turn of the 21st century.
The current exhibition brings into dialogue two distinct strategies associated with the cultural production of “primitives” whether of the self-identified kind or the kind that is described as such by others. While the categorization of Fahey’s music as a sort of “American Primitivism” was mostly brought up in the context of his foregoing of formal training, it was also used with reference to his habit of de-tuning his instrument. The latter practice changes the location of the chords and makes playing according to standard notation impossible. Yet, in the words of the public-television music teacher Laura Weber, it also allowed Fahey to “discover all kinds of new things.”
The paintings presented here were painted by Fahey on unused poster boards which he stumbled upon by chance at a thrift store in Salem, Oregon in 1999. Working on the floor of his garage, Fahey substituted his hands, feet, and—on at least one occasion—his naked butt, for paint brushes. While the acrylic medium was still wet, Fahey sometimes pressed two paintings together, creating a personal litany of Rorschach style investigations to which he added spray paint and more acrylic paint to complete the work. Fahey’s paintings, like his music, bring a sense of unresolvedness, irreplicability, and dissonance to the tradition of abstract gestural painting.
In contrast Yaghmai’s practice is that of a bricoleur. Revolving around the combination of things in ways that they were not intended to, bricolage has been compared to a sort of engineering—a way of solving problems—that works from what is readily available rather than from goals attached to means. The sculptures included in the current exhibition are made from steel pipes found on the street and in the urban landscape. Bent, polished, re-finished, and welded together in continuous bands, the Optometers—as Yaghmai calls these hanging and standing sculptures—revisit some of the key problems of modernist and minimalist sculpture without relinquishing their own fundamentally put-together character.
Legendary guitarist and iconoclast John Fahey (b. 1939, d. 2001) is best known for his adventurous catalog of music. From 1959 until the time of his death in 2001, Fahey released upwards of 40 albums exploring the territory of blues, classical, hillbilly, spirituals, folk, musique concrete, rock, and noise. In 1959, long before the term “independent label” hit the mainstream, he self-released his first album by pressing up 100 copies and selling them at the local gas station where he worked (shortly thereafter forming his own independent label Takoma Records). In addition to releasing albums and making paintings, he published four books of writing relating to his own music and a folklorist’s analysis of the music of Charley Patton. A catalog of Fahey’s paintings with essays by Keith Connolly and Bob Nickas was published by Inventory Press in 2015.
Rosha Yaghmai (b. 1978, Santa Monica, California) lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from the California Institute of the Art in 2007 and her BFA from The School of Visual Arts in New York in 2001. Selected exhibitions include: Miraclegrow, curated by Leila Grothe at The Wattis Institute, San Francisco, CA; Made in LA curated by Erin Christovale and Anne Ellegood at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; The Domestic Plane curated by Amy Smith-Stewart, and David Adamo at the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT; Mad World curated by Ali Subotnick at the Marciano Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; Virginia Woolf: An exhibition inspired by her Writings curated by Laura Smith, Tate St. Ives, Cornwall, UK, amongst others. She is represented by Kayne Griffin Gallery.