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Projects

Oracular Shrines

Oracular Shrines is a collection of mixed media sculptures inspired by the mysteries and powers of nature. The sculptures are created with ephemeral elements such as seed pods, branches and organic detritus mounted on golden metal leaf panels with gem-like embellishment not unlike early shrines of Christianity. Images of boiled eggs, broken and leaking their “essence”, create surreal, semi-abstract forms that serve as a focal point.  Borrowing from Byzantine aesthetics, the icon-like sculptures blur the boundaries between religious and secular beliefs. The egg as animistic object becomes the subject replacing the traditional Judeo-Christian religious figures, while the intricately carved wood is replaced with branches and other organic elements in their natural form.  Oracular Shrines, an alternative to our common origin story, suggests that nature itself is a life source and of the realm of the sacred.  

My work with eggs began by accident while preparing hard boiled eggs for my son’s lunch. Like countless times before, one of the eggs cracked and leaked. However, this time, the shape that emerged from the shell and became frozen in the boiling water struck me as magical.There was a giant bean shape sitting on top of a perfect egg.  I snapped some photos with my phone. When I looked back at the photos, they didn’t quite represent the magic bean as I had experienced it. That is when I began intentionally cracking and photographing eggs to search for interesting forms, characters and personalities.  After spending countless hours meditating on the egg forms I became philosophical about them. The symbolism of the egg resonated with me like never before and I found a certain spiritually in them. This led me to explore setting them in a reliquary-like construction. In doing so, I added the opulent and jewel like materials combined with organic detritus to connect an earthliness with a spirituality. Visit Gallery

The Gathering (Nests)

The Gathering: A collaborative exhibition by Dara Oshin and Robin Roi.   The Gathering was the first collaborative exhibition of artists Dara Oshin and Robin Roi. The title of the exhibition, “The Gathering”, stems from the similarities in the common methodology and imagery of the two artists.  Oshin and Roi each utilize an intricacy of imagery and materials layered and woven together. Their carefully collected materials evoke curiosity inviting the viewer to be an attentive observer. The materials they incorporate are gathered from disparate origins much like birds gathering and re-purposing discarded objects to build a nest. Other materials that typically appear in the artists’ works include fabrics from discarded costumes, papers, dressmakers patterns and broken costume jewelry. The meticulously chosen materials help the artists to explore narratives that are informed by each of  their personal histories. Oshin and Roi also share a common interest in the origins of life, society and how they collide. Birds, nests, gardens, plants, seeds and pods are present in both their works and provide imagery that references the natural world.  Each in their own way, the two artists inject human-made materials such as plastic, and decorative papers into their work to reveal a human presence. By bringing this visually harmonious work together, Oshin and Roi participate in an important and pressing ongoing conversation regarding the human attempt to explore our origins, build a safe “nest” for our loved ones, co-exist with the natural environment and map a way forward that works for all.  The visually appealing decorative facade deepens in meaning the longer one looks and the more they let their curiosity run wild.  The use of unpretentious materials combined with the influence of hours spent in Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery reveal the the richness of the world immediately below our feet in Brooklyn, NY making this exhibit of special interest for the Brooklyn community. Visit Gallery

A womb of One's own (Jewel Boxes)

The title of this series, A Womb Of One's Own alludes to Virginia Woolf's extended essay, A Room of One's Own. The works in this series are meant to be handled. When the boxes are manipulated, the objects inside move. When handled with care and given adequate attention the boxes reveal patterns and sounds unique to each interaction. One may wonder, "Is this a toy?", "Do I play with it?", "Should I manipulate or try to control it?", "Do the boxes hold secrets?". 

A Womb Of One's Own, addresses intimacies of living in society inside a female body. From the moment of birth to the onset of puberty and continuing throughout her life, a woman must continually navigate a patriarchal society while attending to her reproductive system. Even without a voice, even without birth control access, even when there is no support system or sufficient healthcare, women bear the brunt of the responsibilities of human reproduction. Menstruation, developing breasts, sexual desire, sexual objectification, pregnancy, motherhood, opting out, menopause, aging into invisibility all happens to women and is an unstoppable force. 

The role women play in caring for others without considering the consequences on her own well being has historically been taken for granted. In this series, there is much symbolism alluding to the female experience. For example, the lint lining some of the boxes represents the soft nurturing interior of the womb however, it also represents the ongoing nurturing, caring and invisible labor that many women continue to do on a daily basis. We are all familiar with lint but it is also quite invisible and forgotten at the same time.  It is often discarded without a thought of the consequences on the environment or of the free labor that women provide. The background images inside the boxes read as fleshy, organic and feminine, yet not one of the images are taken from the female form, instead they are photographs taken mostly of kitchen objects, also a reference to the roles women traditionally play. 

This work is not currently for sale. Exhibition opportunities are welcomed. Please contact the artist for more information. 

Domestic Reflections

Domestic Reflections plays with cliche’ and preconceived ideas of family, love and romance. By combining drawings with abstracted photographs of objects within the domestic setting, such as dishes, pans, and the kitchen sink, the images highlight the discord between what is imagined and what is real. Photography is used to represent the physical world and the ink drawings represent the subconscious. The two mediums combined highlight the incongruities between perceived notions of love, marriage and the family within the domestic sphere and the actual experience dominated by the routines and limitations in which we become bound.  All of the background images are abstracted photos of ordinary objects found within the home and in particularly the kitchen. See if you can identify the objects used!  

Love and Compassion 

Love and Compassion is a reaction to the physical and mental noise of the media and technology that are increasingly drowning out the subtleties of human interactions necessary to build love, compassion and empathy. What is technology's influence as a relationship middleman? What happens when we are not face to face with one another to see the nuances of body language?  What happens when we don’t have to react in real time to the consequences of our behavior?  Informed by these questions, this work rejects dehumanization and addictive overstimulation that our electronic world delivers. This series of ink on paper line drawings is intentionally minimalistic to capture the essence of the best of humanity while representing all human beings. Shop Prints

The Bean People

  

The Bean People were conceived when the internet was just emerging. These characters are expressive, touching beings, reminiscent of another universe yet remarkably human and earthly.  The Bean People are not just for the eyes to look at, but for the soul to be nourished. They are intrinsically kind, gracious and honest. Embodying a form neither male not female, they tell the story of us all. With their lanky limbs and full body, they walk through life, moment by moment, revealing the beauty and contradictions easily overlooked and taken for granted. Viewing the world through their eyes places a magnifying glass on intimacy, solitude and society.  The Bean People bring to light emotions that transcend age, culture, race, etc. To befriend The Bean People is to enter a world where the lost moments of life are remembered and embraced. These generic yet spiritual creatures celebrate the mundane as well as the extraordinary. They expose that which makes us all connected.

This collection is comprised of two artist books, drawings in private collections around the globe, a limited edition of wooden sculptures, and a book in the Sketchbook Project Library.

When Santa's hat Fell From The Sky

When Santa's Hat Fell From The Sky is a children's book collaboration, written by Liz Bryde and illustrated by Dara Oshin, about a little girl who found Santa's Hat when it accidentally fell from the sky and with it delivered a message of compassion and kindness. The limited edition of books can be found in private collections and some public libraries.

Rock Portraits

Rock Portraits is a series of oil paintings focusing on form, light, space and solitude. The act of balancing rocks challenges one to find the exact point that transforms the individual rocks into a singular structure sharing an energy line, connecting earth to sky. The form can result in poetic harmony. Alternatively, placing rocks next to one another and playing with their forms in space highlights the relationships that are created. The shapes, and personalities of each stone whisper stories of passing time and the unique life it has lived. There is a discovery another kind of balance, a visual balance, where the light fills the air with a soothing rhythm and a comforting melody. 

Sometimes it is the form itself that is intriguing. Other times it is the vibrations of the light or the subtle changes of colorful earthy hues. When there is Southern light, it can be confusing yet warm and intoxicating, seductive yet elusive and fleeting. A rock can sever the light like a knife through a zucchini. The strength of the sun can create a blinding glow and a blinding darkness in one. This intense light embodies two opposing worlds, one of illumination and another of darkness. Yet the intensity is such that we cannot see clearly in either world. 

Then there is the Northern light. So soft is the northern light, diffused and reflective, gentle like a cotton ball whisking across a baby’s cheek. Its unobtrusiveness is unifying. It is calm and quiet yet cool. On a cloudy day, the light quality exposes the secrets held within. The hard objects unfold as the light falls so softly across their surfaces, whispering a nook, exhaling a curve, revealing the secrets through a ripple. It is an intimate light that can breathe deeply into the soul. Visit Gallery

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Dara Oshin

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