Miyoshi Barosh used the vernacular traditions of craft and folk art to make her wall tapestries, paintings, and sculptural objects. The current economic crisis has added relevance to Barosh’s recent body of work centered on ideas concerned with cultural failure (the failure to make life better) and its impact on the individual. Her use of myriad materials such as fabric, Plexiglas, foam, fiberglass, paint, and found objects, as well as craft processes are a refutation of ideas of progress. Acrylic yarns and thrift-store purchased polyester knitwear are used with both comic irony and heartfelt sincerity as an Americanized arte povera. These “indigenous” fabrics and folk-craft techniques are then processed through accumulation and assemblage in opposition to male-dominated Modernism as well as a parody of aspirational consumerism.
The text and titles of many of Barosh’s pieces—Feel Better, Reflecting Our Fevered Dreams and Desires, Rescue Chair with Soft Intervention—point to a shift in responsibility to create and sustain meaningful lives from society to the individual. Cultural failure becomes internalized within the individual who turns to self-help books and articles, conventional therapy, as well as prescription and non-prescription pharmacology. The texts in the work signal a call for action: the action of becoming “better” and questions the role of texts in the formation of selfhood. Through material, process, and text, Barosh made the art object a manifestation of competing emotions around cultural conceits and identity politics.
A native Los Angelino, Miyoshi Barosh received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts and BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She also attended Yale Summer School of Art and Music (1980) and Parsons School of Design Summer School in New York City. She was awarded a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship for Fine Arts and was a 2015 C.O.L.A (City of Los Angeles) Individual Fellowship awardee. She was an artist-in-residence at the Pilchuck School of Glass and was the first artist-in-residence at the New Children's Museum in San Diego. Barosh has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including Body Conscious: Southern California Fiber at the Craft in America Center, Women, War, and Industry at the San Diego Museum of Art, The Small Loop Show (curated by China Adams) at the Fellows of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Cheerful and Heroic: Eight Perspectives on the Art of Failure (curated by Lauren Lockhart) at Southwestern College Art Gallery, and We’re Not Here to Waste Time! at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles. In addition to being an artist, Miyoshi Barosh has worked for numerous art publications, including BOMB magazine, where she was managing editor. She was founder, editor, and co-publisher with A.R.T. Press of NOW TIME, a non-profit arts and culture journal based in Los Angeles. At A.R.T. Press, she worked with William Bartman, publisher/editor, worked on book-length interviews with mid-career artists such as Allan McCollum, Vija Celmins, Felix Gonzales-Torres, and Mike Kelley.