Remembering Miriam Wosk: Celebrating Color

Miriam Wosk, Looking from the Other Side; Paper collage with crystals and sequins; 40 x 28 in.

“More is more,” was the motto of Miriam Wosk, the celebrated illustrator and mixed-media artist who passed away November 5. With her keen eye for detail, love for ornament and color, and everlasting energy, she wanted to render in her art the beauty of nature and life despite decay and death. Her artwork is described as “an exploration of mortality and attempt to balance the imminence of death through the beauty of art.”

Canadian-born Wosk moved to New York from Vancouver at a young age and studied illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology. As fashion illustrator who specialized in women’s subjects, she worked for numerous publications such as Vogue, Ms, and The New York Times. In 1972, Wosk designed the first cover of Ms., depicting a pregnant, eigth-armed goddess juggling the demands of work, marriage, and motherhood. Although she enjoyed that her magazine illustrations reached millions of people, her aspirations lied in fine arts and she decided to relocate to the West Coast. Years later, she stated that giving up her career in New York and moving to California helped her tremendously to reinvent herself, and the sunlight brightened her work. She hired Frank Gehry to build her three-story penthouse in Los Angeles, incorporating many of Wosk’s designs inspired by the curves and colors of Antonio Gaudí’s park in Spain.

Miriam Wosk, The Phenomonology of the Self; Paper collage, 82 x 55 in.

A largely self-taught painter, Wosk produced richly textured paintings, watercolors, prints, collages and tapestry. She utilized a variety of materials from jewels, glitter, and vintage wallpaper, to ribbons and feathers. Similarly, she was inspired by many different artistic styles, including Indian and Persian miniatures, surrealism, avant-garde graphic design, and kitsch. Even Rorschach blots have inspired her art. Her highly decorative and colorful work, blending anatomical imagery, whether human or animal, with floral ornament and vibrant patterns, celebrate life in all forms.

Her work—some as large as murals—has been exhibited across the country. Wosk was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and died at her home in Santa Monica.

2 thoughts on “Remembering Miriam Wosk: Celebrating Color

  1. Pingback: Miriam wosk | Jilleppe

  2. Miriam Wosk went to FIT with me. In 2007 I found her while reading an article
    in Los Angeles Magazine about her house. I called her and she was gracious enough to speak with me about our college days. She sent me an invitation for an opening of her art exhibition
    in Culver City. I think it was 2008. I was blown away by the range and scope of her work. I had remembered a project she had done in college and had reminded her of it. It was a poster comprised of butterflies, multimedia of course. We spoke briefly that night. I asked her if we could meet some time and get together. Her answer confused me, she said, “My time is limited”.
    I had no idea she had passed away until today when I received an invitation to a exhibition of her work at the Santa Monica Art Museum. She was a wonderful and gifted artist.
    I hope at this late date my condolences will be sent to her family through this message.
    Linda Meyrowitz

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