For Los Angeles artist Miyoshi Barosh, time is moving the wrong way. Or rather, the world is moving the wrong way around time. The comic tragedy of paradoxical progressivism takes center stage in her art; a call to arms against modern society, and an exploration of human identity.
“I’m a conceptual artist who favors the use of traditional, craft techniques and a variety of materials,” said Barosh. “More or less, I’m a sculptor and I would say that I use irony and satire to make an argument for a more equitable world.”
Barosh is one of the 12 City of Los Angeles art fellows of 2015. The COLA fellowship, awarded to artists based on their artistic distinction and mastery of their crafts, serves the purpose of inspiring creativity and encouraging cultural or imaginative curiosity within the Los Angeles community, as well as promoting local artists and visionaries.
“She just changes everything,” said COLA curator Scott Canty. “She’s taking something that’s traditional [like] quilts and making it into contemporary art.”
Amongst the other artists exhibited in the COLA gallery, Barosh competes for the most explorative, as she uses many different mediums and techniques to conceptualize her philosophies into form. “Rainbow of Tears”, Barosh’s largest piece in the gallery, features a towering tear-dripping sculpture composed of used multicolored afghans pieced together as one.
“The unknown workers who put their unpaid labor into these afghans were most likely women,” said Barosh. “I think of these women as silent collaborators.”
The intertwining of new and old is a common theme in Barosh’s works, as craft competes with modernism in nearly every piece. Ranging from quilting to digital displays, she forces viewer thought into what society is, what it used to be, and what the true American identity is in the present day.
“I’m a big fan of historical perspective and think that most of our problems are rooted in historical amnesia,” said Barosh. “No matter how digitalized our futures become, humans have a need to make things by hand.”
The culture clash is made evident in Barosh’s “Monument to the Triumph of the Therapeutic”, where two colorful amorphous blob-like objects are juxtaposed against a historic black and white postcard of mountainous American wilderness. The postcard format serves as a reminder of our human past, where the natural world was free from the footprints urbanization and ecological destruction.
“The images in the postcards are iconic American landscapes like the Grand Tetons. Americans like to think of these grand natural places in national parks as our heritage sites, or our monuments,” said Barosh.
Yet, along with her seemingly serious political commentary, Barosh also infuses humor into the titles and themes of her work. Viewing political decline as a sort of “tragic comedy”, she uses humorous and unsuspecting language to appeal to viewers and add more depth to her works.
“I hope people recognize the comedy [and] tragedy aspects of our lives in my work,” said Barosh. “While I refer to the anxieties and fears inherent in contemporary life, I also find our projections and coping mechanisms funny. Humor itself is an excellent coping device.”
However, the trends Barosh sees in America do not always parallel those seen in Los Angeles, as she uses the strong existing culture and identity of the city as tool of conveying her views globally.
“Los Angeles, as one of the most diverse cities in America, has grown into an international art community. I feel that the themes and concerns I bring up in my work are part of a larger global conversation–ideas and themes that many other writers, playwrights, filmmakers, artists everywhere are grappling with” said Barosh.
Borosh’s COLA gallery is located at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, and is open to the public from 12 p.m.-5 p.m. on Thursday to Sunday. The exhibit ends on June 28, yet her art can continue to be viewed on her personal website at http://www.miyoshibarosh.com/.