Mokha Laget’s Day Peep
November 11, 2016
For decades, painter Mokha Laget has infused methodically defined geometric spaces with bold color, forming complex compositions that virtually vibrate with intensity. Throughout the course of an evolving career, Laget has used a variety of artistic materials, including grass, wax and ink, mud, leather, and stone. Her unusual application of acrylic and clay-pigmented paint gives her paintings crisp, matte color and smooth, uniform texture, and luminous surfaces.
Born in Algeria, Laget spent her early childhood in North Africa, a region whose radiant light and dramatic geographical contrasts left a lasting impression, and this background is evidenced in her impressionist palette. Laget majored in Fine Arts at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C., where 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. While most of its practitioners are quintessentially American in background and outlook, Laget infuses the movement with an invigorating quality of multiculturalism. In 2012, painter Paul Reed called Laget “the real deal, a genuine Color Field painter; only she superimposes French impressionist colors and infuses her works with the essence of New Mexico.” After graduating from Georgetown University’s School of International Relations, she travelled the world as an interpreter. Of this experience, Laget says “I was getting paid to discover the world, from museums to backwoods—then I would come back to the studio and paint.”
“Mokha Laget’s shaped, abstract, geometric canvases reward careful and extended viewing. Each one is filled with perspectival paradoxes, which gradually reveal themselves as the composition is explored and visually traversed. Depth cues are inverted and subverted. Is this polygon sloping and receding into the background or thrusting towards the foreground? Is this collection of surfaces meant to describe a solid or a void; is it concave or convex? Are we intended to see illusory depth or simply a flat picture plane? That is the equivocal balance constantly at work in these compelling constructions. Space becomes ambiguous but highly perceptual, even tactile. The eye and the brain are engrossed in a tantalizing duet, decoding conflicting cues about depth, working from often contradictory or ambiguous information about the construction of space in these works.”
-Bill Dolan, Spatial Ambiguity
Mokha Laget has worked as an independent curator, and is a published writer, translator, and poet. Her work is actively exhibited in the United States and abroad, and is included in private and corporate collections of national and international stature. Laget lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.