Combining painting and sculpture with aspects of traditional craft techniques such as embroidery, weaving, and sewing, these three artists play with scrambling notions of craft versus art, painting versus sculpture, formal versus conceptual, sublime versus mundane, as well as private versus public, allowing traditionally meticulous media to be used in expressionistic and improvisational ways that suggest layered meanings and embedded personal and transactional histories. The works included in this exhibition are engaged in a sophisticated dialogue with time and place and reveal how techniques associated with the domestic sphere can be exploited in the interpretation of history and expressions of resistance. The choice of materials, often gathered from local craft stores and consignment shops, reflects the humble consumer sources available to everyone and helps to demystify the perception of art as an elitist cultural object with an intrinsic value reserved for luxury items.
Nena Amsler's labor-intensive art practice originates from a process of individuation, or finding oneself, through which the internal (emotional, psychological or spiritual) is made external. The fine cloth, lace, and other objects that Amsler "weaves" and builds out of extruded paint draw upon the Catholic and shamanistic beliefs and rituals of her Peruvian and Swiss heritage, and explore deeply personal memories and a relationship to the making of art where meaning is revealed, or constructed, through inanimate objects.
Miyoshi Barosh's sculptures and paintings are concerned with the institutional presentation of modern art and question the categories of "outsider" and "craft." For her, contemporary American culture offers a paucity of substance, relying instead on clichés, stereotypes, and inspirational messages to produce meaning.
Nava Lubelski's work explores the contradictions between the impulse to destroy and the compulsion to mend. Juxtaposing rapid acts of destruction, such as spilling and cutting, with painstaking, restorative labor, her embroideries are hand-stitched over stains and rips, contrasting the accidental with the meticulous. The initial marks are found on linens or are created by cutting and staining canvas. The work scrambles expressions of aggression with masochistic patience and sublimation and plays with the feminine through the graphic form of the "stain". Every "accidental" splash and drip is, in fact, a precisely and purposefully threaded creation.