Take Back Your Body

Posted by: Esther Podemski

“Take Back Your Body”
an exhibition of work by Daria Dorosh.

I first encountered Daria Dorosh’s work in the mid-nineties when the A.I.R gallery was located in SoHo. Dorosh is a co-founding member of the iconic feminist gallery. Upon entering the space, I saw a work called “Wolverine: A change of life”, 1995, in which an old dresser had water cascading from one open drawer to another. The dream like quality of a waterfall presented in miniature inside an interior space evoked Gaston Bachelard’s book, The Poetics of Space. “Our past is situated elsewhere, and both time and place are impregnated with a sense of unreality”

Born in Ukraine, Daria immigrated to the United States with her parents and sister when she was seven. Escaping Stalin, they lived for a time in displaced person’s camps in Germany prior to arriving in New York. Her mother, Stephanie, first worked as a chambermaid but her innate fashion sense made it possible for her to become a retail professional at high-end department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman.

In Dorosh’s 23rd solo exhibition titled “Take Back Your Body” a series of mixed media works are suspended on the walls. These pieces consisting of painted patterned paper and silk coils are scaled to the female torso. Intricate reliefs combine draped taffeta silk with dimensional painted paper forms. Although these works are sculptural, they come with a bonus; the multi-patterned silk scarf can be removed and worn.

Two companion digital prints titled “Red Corset of Constraint” reveal another side of fashion; the erotic force of conventional beauty. These tall prints are digitally collaged with fragments from historic paintings of the female nude and are interlaced with an ad for a full body red corset from the 20th century.

The artist’s preoccupation with transforming materials is evident in another series called “Texere” in which fashion becomes a collaboration between the artist and six women.  Photos of the women along with their stories are seen in the gallery entry. The artist invited friends to select a garment that they no longer wore but could not discard. The clothes were rescued by being remade into unique art-to-wear. These “vestments” were worn at the opening by their owners. Each garment is a commentary on how fashion is an object of history filled with memory and meaning as are all of Daria Dorosh’s original and poignant works.

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