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Press Release

Miyoshi Barosh's work collides the domestic world of craft with the muscular images of Pop in handmade signs and sign systems: maps, banners, billboards, and roadside attractions. Barosh's rejection of machine fabrication in favor of the adamantly handmade reveals a self-conscious preference for imperfection that, in its honest pre-technological innocence, connects with the deeper emotive implications of the work. Like the human condition, it is pulled by conflicting desires for independence and dependency, freedom and obligation. Delirium consists of two groups of wall hangings and objects that parody the function of the "art object": the cartouches--ornamental framing devices that signify ownership, possession, and self-glorification, and the collaged knitted pieces--made from discarded vintage afghans and glittering metallic sweaters that embody the idea of the handmade as a "labor of love". Delirium celebrates the exuberant collision of color, texture, and form as it negotiates the conflict of irrational emotions that surrounds the art object.

Historically, the cartouche served as a decorative graphic element on European maps and coats of arms during the sixteenth century, a time when European sovereigns raced one another to exploit and claim ownership over other lands and peoples. The baroque ornamentation of the cartouches in this exhibition frame emptiness (or, in one case, a reflection), underlying a broader feeling of melancholy and disorientation. Installed on fabulously extravagant wallpaper in a tongue-in-cheek imitation of high-end antique shops, these mock cartouches-as mirrors-as paintings-as art objects are droll substitutes for symbols of wealth and privilege: cartoon cartouches. These cartoons send up the object, "the painting", as a signifier of connoisseurship and good taste. The second group of objects, the collaged crocheted pieces, plays on the notion of a "labor of love." The hand-knitted afghans are traditionally women's craft that refer to both the ideal of self-less love and to the idea of unconditional love--real or not. The work of art created as a labor of love may sound cynical, yet, for Barosh, is made in good faith and contains a deep utopian wish for social change, no matter how naïve and nostalgic that dream is.

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