09-26-19 - 12-20-19
Big, bold, symbolic, and colorful are a few words that come to mind when considering the work of Tosha Stimage. Her rather modest studio, a closet in her friend’s Oakland apartment while finalizing a move to Los Angeles, barely hints at the ideas behind her work. A conversation quickly makes it apparent—her ideas and art cannot be contained.
Stimage’s artistic practice focuses on disrupting the idea of isolated meaning—the idea that language stands independently, free of historical or modern connotations. By consistently re-contextualizing material forms and histories, she is able to challenge visual language and its relationship to the construct of “race”.
Her larger body of work is informed by things often unnoticed— pattern, discarded items, the texture of decaying wheat pasted posters—but also by studying color, human interaction, semiology, and a sprinkle of celebrity culture.
While symbols dominate much of Stimage’s work, they serve to show us that perception radically changes our relationship to meaning. What we assume is being communicated, and the intended message can often be miles apart. The symbol/object rests between intention and interpretation and can serve a variety of functions. The impermanence of language is at the core of her work—the limits of language, personal perception and the simultaneous realities of the individuals engaging in language.
Tosha’s installation at JMS is a vibrating homage to the decorative movement with color and floral imagery. The poppy flower re-introduces itself throughout the installation in various stages of life, scale, orientation, and color. The motif extends beyond the frame exploding and enveloping the room creating an immersive and energetic experience for all who enter. Stimage’s work asks for our full attention and encourages questioning not only the work, but our relationship to it and the world around us.