Miyoshi Barosh’s art cheekily critiques the values of modern society.
Composition with Chair II, 2011 (chair frame, acrylic yarn, sneaker, urethane tube, insulating foam, and enamel, 48"x80"x54")
There's sculpture that requires viewing from multiple angles, then there's the kind that stops viewers in their tracks. In artist Miyoshi Barosh's case, audiences are compelled to do both. Her inexplicable, intriguing creations are fashioned from unpredictable stuff such as yarn and cast-off clothes, as well as more "traditional" elements including paint, steel, glass, and more. But the aesthetic arrangement of unconventional raw material yields methodically rendered artworks with a conceptual core. Wry, dystopian undercurrents lurk in the various textures, patterns, and forms all waiting to be teased out.
A self-described "conceptual-pop artist," Barosh's approach is executed in unexpected, often whimsical ways, all while directly examining contemporary culture with a critical eye. With art degrees from RISD and CalArts, this might come as no surprise, but Barosh's work not only has a great deal of thought behind it; there's humor and irony as well.
An admirer of Yayoi Kusama's early work, along with art by Louise Bourgeois, Philip Guston, Mike Kelley, and Martin Kippenberger, Barosh says, "I use vernacular craft processes and folk traditions in combination with digital technologies to contradict ideas about progress and technological determinism." She tells The Creators Project: "My work is concerned with cultural failure (the failure to make life better), and utopian ideals in ruins."
The artist believes that this dissolution of lofty principles redirects members of society to things such as "self-help, therapy, prescription, and non-prescription pharmacology (or getting a cute animal fix on the internet)." This comes at least partially from a childhood with a mother who, Barosh reveals, had borderline personality disorder, "so a lot of what I do could be called therapeutic. I find humor essential because my mother was emotionally abusive."
Barosh was born in LA but traveled a lot due to her father's government job. They lived in the southwest and Turkey, while also traveling all across Europe, East Africa, and Japan. After living and working in New York City as an adult, she returned to Los Angeles to go to grad school at CalArts, and has more or less remained.
"At the heart of every great city is a vibrant cultural scene," she says. "LA is the most diverse city in this country, there are more mixed race people here than anywhere else. Like the great progressive city it is, LA embraces a multiplicity of voices."
Including Barosh's own, evidently.