Fine Art

Grace Visits: Artist Daria Dorosh

Daria Dorosh, “Baby Face,” 9 x 10 x 6.5 inches, textile sculpture with shelf, 2012.

Daria Dorosh has fabricated many distinctive hand-sewn, knit “creatures” as seen in Baby Face (2012), Little Boy Lost (2012), Mama’s Boy (2012) and Teacher’s Pet (2012). She endows each one with its own personality ranging from deeply poignant to outright zany, but never silly, or trite. These personas are sentimental but not maudlin, tender but not sloppy, and proud of their individual diversity and rarified oddities. Seductively perched on their own hand-made shelves, they await being  picked up, caressed, and placed on bodies where their critter “anima” gets intertwined with the scent of human touch.

Baba Yaga (2012) is a textile sculpture of a supernatural being in Slavic folklore — a wild, ferocious  woman, both scary and grandmotherly, of dubious character often associated with forest wildlife. To Wait (2012) depicts Dorosh’s Baba Yaga, hiding in an overhanging cave lingering in wait, a stark contrast to the 19th century serene, romanticized view of travel. Owl Princess (2012), wise and stately, is both witness and the object of desperate adoration as seen in Owl Princess reveals the Destruction of Babylon (2012), Gustave Doré’s 1897 cataclysmic engraving. Dorosh felt that “Dore was the ‘drama queen’ of religious themes” and citing her spirited beasties into his dark, nightmarish scenes, she was adding a shock of sweetness to the original theatrical representation.

Daria Dorosh, “Narcissus 1, series 4,” 22 x 17 inches, digital print with sewn textiles, 2016.

In this age of “selfies” Dorosh began a new digital print series titled Narcissus (2016), which  considers “self-love and female involvement in beauty, encompassing the dark side of obsessional beauty” using found images of models’ faces and morphing them together in Photoshop. Her upstate New York pond is in the background — the symbolic pool where Narcissus falls in love with his own reflection. Dorosh also attaches fragmented scraps of material to the digital prints relating to her personal painting history thereby individuating each print. Narcissus 1, series 4, delineates a face that has disintegrated and melted into the water, drowned by the fanatical absorption of her own reflection.

Dorosh’s involvement with feminism dates back to 1972 when she was one of 20 co-founders of A.I. R. — the first all female, non-profit cooperative gallery in the country, which also included Nancy Spero, Dotty Attie, Judith Bernstein, Howardena Pindell, and Barbara Zucker. Wanting equal opportunity with men in the art world, they rented a  storefront in Soho, coming “out of the closet,” so to speak, as artists, carving out a space to exhibit and organize discussion and innovative events. Dorosh still exhibits bi-annually with A.I. R. gallery considering it her “research space.”

At the end of our visit, Dorosh  poignantly expressed her wonder and concerns regarding the ongoing journey of being an artist, wife, teacher, doctoral recipient, and activist:  “Art over the years has demonstrated my path . . . a magical world of possibilities. Realizing that time is short we have so much worth sharing, but there is no plan for artists when they leave the culture. Their whole repository of work and ideas are in jeopardy.”

A cry that needs to be heeded.

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  • Mimi Smith February 10, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Wonderful article about Daria’s terrific work. Congrats to Daria and Grace for this excellent article. Also so glad to see Daria’s great art images!

    • Grace Graupe-Pillard February 10, 2017 at 11:14 am

      Thanks Mimi for your comment – It is so appreciated.

  • submit please February 7, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    “Art over the years has (revealed) my path . . . a magical world of possibilities.” Daria is one of my favorite artists. Your writing reveals some of the fascinating, and inspiring qualities one has in seeing her work, its playful, mysterious, and thought provoking. Often hilarious as well as puzzling…..I wish that more images could be shown, words can fall short of deciphering all that one senses. a true art of wonder. Thanks to you both for writing and making this essay.

    • Grace Graupe-Pillard February 7, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      Thank you SANDY GELLIS for the above comment – Much appreciated.

  • Suzan Globus February 7, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Daria stitches her history into her feminine and quirky figures which command a closer look. Even the shelves take on a persona. I am especially attracted to her Narcissus series which combines digital manipulation with hand stitching. Once again, you have introduced an artist whose fascinating work I may not have known otherwise. Thank you for writing this valuable series.

    • Grace Graupe-Pillard February 7, 2017 at 11:06 pm

      Suzan – So pleased that you are responding. Thank you.

  • patricia lee stotter February 7, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Daria weaves grace with beauty creating a fabric of knotty consideration that offers shelter from and exposure to the storm…
    wonderful piece about a strong woman, powerful artist.

    • Grace Graupe-Pillard February 7, 2017 at 11:06 pm

      Thank you Patricia Lee.

  • Grace Graupe-Pillard February 7, 2017 at 5:32 am

    I want to thank Daria Dorosh for giving me this opportunity to visit with her. It was a pleasure!