Mokha Laget: Perceptualism
March 31, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
March 31, 2023 | Mokha Laget’s Perceptualism Comes to CONTAINER
Opening Reception from 5-7 pm
On view through May 15, 2023
Laget as a regional treasure. She lives in an off-grid studio outside Santa Fe, where she works magic on her perspective-defying compositions. This exhibition is coming to us fresh from its success at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in Washington, DC. Featuring over forty works by Laget and curated by Kristen Hileman, the exhibition ran earlier this year to great acclaim, including a glowing review in Art and Antiques.
The title, Perceptualism, can be read as a playful nod to the experience of standing in front of one of Laget’s shaped canvas paintings. Laget studied traditional geometric abstraction as a studio assistant to Washington Color School mega-painter Gene Davis, and she takes advantage of our natural inclination to wrestle representation from art objects. Laget plays with expectations, holding the viewer on a knife’s edge between clarity and abstraction and engaging with the viewer’s perceptions. The diagonal lines that cut through her paintings are like the underdrawings of Renaissance masterworks, giving a sense of distance and movement. Her constructions fold back in on themselves, taking vanishing points to a seemingly logical conclusion while simultaneously looping back to the viewer in almost Escher-esque puzzles. Space is bent and overlapped in a dream-like fashion.
The creation of each piece is a marriage of meticulous planning and agile adaptation as it comes to life. Laget plans the composition out in sketches as graphite on paper, the color comes later as she tests out different ideas, having gone so far as to write software code to create computer representations before moving forward with the final artwork. She develops her pigments into a kind of inky wash that is absorbed deeply into the canvas, creating a rich depth of color and allowing the texture and the matte surface to be a part of the finished effect.
Laget says of her practice, “I am particularly interested in the effect of color and structure on the viewer’s psyche and use my paintings as a laboratory for this exploration. I aim to create an immersive experience for the viewer by playing with changing perspectives and light sources, resulting in a sense of ambiguity and unexpectedness within the spatial relations of the painting.”
Laget obtained her BFA in Fine Arts at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, DC. There she studied under several prominent members of the Washington Color School, an influential non-objective painting group whose principal members included Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Thomas Downing, Howard Mehring, and Paul Reed. With an additional degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, she has also spent part of the last 25 years traveling throughout Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe as a simultaneous French interpreter and translator.
Mokha Laget’s work has been exhibited internationally over the past 30 years and featured in Art in America, The New Art Examiner, The Washington Post, and Art Ltd., among others. Her work is included in the collections of the Ulrich Museum, Harnett Museum, George Washington University, Museum of Geometric and MADI Art, US Department of State, National Institutes of Health, and numerous private and corporate collections around the world.
Perceptualism at CONTAINER is a chance to see Laget’s work, including her 12-foot beauty Noodle, which takes full advantage of our institutional architecture.