Los Angeles-based artists and couple Rosha Yaghmai and Antonio Adriano Puleo often work in distinctly different media. Yaghmai’s practice consists of exquisitely-crafted sculptural objects, breathtaking collages, multi-media installations and invigorating, experimental approaches to photography. Los Angeles Times’ art critic Christopher Knight said of her work: “Yaghmai has a knack for exploiting the power of the void. Hers is not the cosmic nothingness of old New York School painting, nor the Zen fulsomeness of Light and Space art. Instead, it's almost a structural principle -- an emptiness essential to making experience of the world visible.”
Antonio Adriano Puleo’s current body of work entails hundreds of small, non-figurative paintings, super charged with vibrant colors, textures and graphics, all imbued with classical art and architectural references. The considerable number of paintings installed together feels extremely thoughtful and systematic, and, along with the deliberately-stunning color palette, representational and abstract forms, conveys a contemplative space of personal solitude and transcendentality, akin to the feeling one has when walking into a glorious example of ancient architecture.
Despite the seeming unrelatedness of media and surface, I find Rosha and Antonio Adriano’s artwork to have strong underlying currents and similarities. Both artists are heavily influenced by Romanticism and sentimentality, and their work aims to transport the viewer to a seductively meditative and enigmatic place where beauty is often found in the impalpable.
Below, in their own words, are the artist’s thoughts on art, love and inspiration:
Full Name: Rosha Yaghmai
Place of Birth: Santa Monica, CA
Astrological Sign: Aries!
How did your interest in art begin? When I was in middle school (I think maybe 6th grade or so), I went to the library and found a book of Weegee’s photographs. I thought they were staged. It was a revelation.
How did you meet one another? I was in Giverny, France (the Magical Monet garden town) for a residency. One of Antonio's oldest friends was there with me. He thought we would hit it off... it was a good, old-fashioned set up!
What is the correlation between your artwork and your relationship? You know our work, in terms of medium and approach is very different, just like our approach to life! Antonio is able to just keep his head down and work, the pleasure for him is in the process of working. For me, I'm always looking outside, pushing further. The quest for the "next" is a big part of my practice. Seeking out and creating problems, then attempting to solve them. I guess that would be something that our studio practice, and material process, has in common.
How does love (or the idea of love) affect your art? Not so sure about love, but I am definitely into the notion of "romantic suffering"... more as a general tone or sentiment in the work. I am a big fan of this Kai Altoff quote, “I think my work is much more about ‘love,’ if I dare say that: things that I don’t get from love, things that I love or want to love, or that I want to love me.”
Are your practices inspired in any way by one another? We are always talking materials with each other… Antonio is my paint and collage guru. We are consuming art and various pop culture together, and sharing a life! So a lot of the same things on the daily are fueling the fire.
Favorite object in your studio? My radio
Favorite historical artwork(s)? Odilon Redon's paintings. Ree Morton's celastic sculptures. Mike Kelley’s More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages of Sin. Monet's Garden at Giverny. Anything Franz West. Vija Celmins’ ocean drawings
Full Name: Antonio Adriano Puleo
Place of Birth: Boston, Massachusetts
Astrological Sign: Cancer
How did your interest in art begin? Like most kids, I grew up loving to draw. A few things happened at a pivotal age that helped form my decision to continue to make art. My grandparents took me to Italy for the first time when I was 15. Although I spoke the language, I felt a bit isolated. Nonetheless I was blown away by my surroundings. I spent most of my time in my sketchbook and remember connecting with something I hadn't before. Around that time I also visited the M.F.A. in Boston; Stuart Davis blew me away.
How did you meet one another? Rosha did a residency in France with my best friend from childhood. He came back before her and thought we would get along. I finally tracked her down; we met on a blind date on Halloween 2009. I knew right away!
What is the correlation between your artwork and your relationship? Love, passion, hard work, patience, dedication, commitment, and desire.
How does love (or the idea of love) affect your art? Everything is in everything.
Are your practices inspired in any way by one another? Rosha's practice is very inspirational for me. She works in a more interdisciplinary approach, which has always been a challenge for me. My instinct is to work within a few mediums and push the work under those parameters. Watching Rosha work, and being around her thought process, has helped me to broaden the way I think about making things, and how I want to make them.
Favorite object in your studio? My swivel chair.
Favorite historical artwork? Jacopo Pontormo’s The Deposition from the Cross