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Yuriko Yamaguchi | Artist & Sculptor

INITIUM NOVUM / Humanity’s End as a New Beginning, April 1 – June 10, 2021, McLean Projects for Arts (MPA), Virginia

INITIUM NOVUM: Humanity’s End as a New Beginning

Collaboration with Dr. Mineke Schipper, an Emeritus Professor of Intercultural Studies and Comparative Literature, Leiden University in Netherlands. www.minekeschipper.nl

The origin of Mineke’s idea of publishing the result of her research as a book stems from her desire to connect the ancient apocalyptic mythologies to today’s environmental problems and pandemic, as she convincingly explains in an essay preceding the mythical stories. I intend to use the right side of the gallery space to encompass the world-wide climate change related videos for wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, glacial melting, plastic contamination in the ocean, tornadoes, nuclear power plant explosion in Fukushima, Japan, and COVID-19. I downloaded all videos in a different order to USB-memory sticks. As a result, each projector projects a different video-scene in a loop. It is like John Cage’s chance operation. I am pleased with the unexpectedness and surprise. Although each original video comes with a narration, I turn off the sound when I operate all the projectors; however, people can hear the whir of the projectors. I like only these whirring sounds without journalistic explanation of the videos in order to make my show ambiguous instead of with a didactic overtone. If you do not know the exact content of each video, the installation almost looks like abstract light show.

Although I know the importance of public awareness, I still feel this No End piece is an elusive poetic visual entity even if I use traumatic videos. Videos are showing very serious and scary truths that we need to discuss and bring the maximum effort to minimize problems. For example, wildfire in the west coast is annual and more frequent. I hope my show can trigger a discussion on climate change in the community.

Please stay tuned for the upcoming exhibition at the Mclean Projects for the Arts, (MPA), Mclean Virginia, USA in the spring season, 2021. (April 1st to June 10th).

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“Paradox” at the American University Museum Katzen Art Center

Unfortunately the scheduled collaborative exhibit with Helen Frederick and Michael Pestel in November 2020 was cancelled due to Covid 19.

Considering Paradox

To me Paradox is life itself.  We are born without being able to choose a gender, family, race, and place.  We cannot choose how to die either.   But in the US we can choose a president who can serve all of us. Often media reports President Trump is autocratic and divides our nation.  Donald Trump did not win by the popular vote.  Many democrats feel he is not serving the country well as a  leader but only for his base or for himself.   Many historical events stem from the complex web of greed, desire, and power struggles. To discuss Paradox, I would like to describe the genesis of the four pieces:

  • Night Watch Bell
  • No End (Global Emergency)
  • Cloud Within Clouds
  • No End and No Beginning

While generating my idea for our group exhibition at the Katzen Center at the American University Museum, I had an urge to deal with Trump tweets.  He uses his twitter as a tool to communicate his ideas, policies and unfiltered thoughts.  The media discusses daily what Trump tweets and uses it as the central subject matter to communicate and debate with the public.  This is a new phenomenon in the US.  

I became determined to create a large- scale interactive work to reflect what we are now.  It is called Night Watch Bell.

Last year, I talked about my idea of using Trump tweets with a friend in the beginning stage of Night Watch Bell.  He suggested that I do not to censor but use everything as it is.  I also decided to integrate binary codes, for example, “010011….” cast in resin in pale warm colors and various sizes into his tweets in order to signify it is digital communication.  On the top of the ceiling of this dome, I scattered many small digital communication tools such as smartphone cables and computer mouses.  The cylinder -shaped dome mimics the bell of Joya no Kane (Night Watch Bell).  I was born in Japan and grew up there until adulthood.  I listened to the sound of Joya no Kane every new year at midnight.  After listening to 108 tolls of the Joya No Kane, we are able to send out the old year and meet a new year in a refreshed mind. It is believed that we have 108 kinds of sins in our lives.  Ringing the bell 108 times symbolizes the elimination of all sins we committed.  My 8 foot- diameter dome with Trump tweets also has 108 digital bell sounds of of the Joya no Kane recorded in one temple in Japan on New Year’s Eve. The work has a motion sensor with a small speaker that  triggers to operate the recorded sound of the Joya no Kane whenever a visitor approaches the dome or enters the dome.

Trump’s tweets were printed on velum paper and cut individually in various sizes.  I pasted each on a grid wire mesh by glue and wrapped cheesecloth. Next, the tweets were covered by a thin layer of Kozo paper in order to achieve a discreet look that are easy to burn.   After drying it, I partially burned the tweets by a candle flame.  This burning process is coming from the idea of ritual that is practiced in Japanese temples and shrines. Burning symbolizes cleansing and purification by breaking up with the past as well as the welcoming of whatever the future holds.

Toward the end of this work, I decided to mix Trump tweets with sutras in the same manner since I started to feel too uncomfortable to read Trump tweets everyday to continue my work.  This uneasiness resulted in using some sutras that were available at one of temples I visited during my October 2019 trip to Japan.  The juxtaposition of Trump tweets and sutra is very strange and paradoxical.  Unfortunately I am not able to show this work on November 7th right after the presidential election.  My purpose of presenting this work is to help us feel like we are putting all our agony of Trump presidency behind us and meeting a new president to begin anew.

Additionally, I have three more artworks that were supposed to be included for the Paradox exhibit.

Originally, I was scheduled to have a solo show using the front long hallway exhibit space from September to December 2019; however, I was instructed not have two shows consecutively and that   I could include an additional piece, No End, in the group show in the following year.  

No End began at the Art Space residency in Barcelona, Spain on April 2017.  I was required to show by the beginning of June what I had created in the studio of the Art Space.  Initially, I wanted to create an organic cave- like space by using stainless steel wire and gampi paper pulp.  Not particular idea existed in my mind early in the residency. On May 9th I found out that Trump had fired FBI director, James Comey via the New York Times.  This news was a big shock.  I started following the news about Trump in You Tube everyday.  Trump dealings became almost my obsession.  I realized the 2016 presidential election was not over but lingering like invisible spider web all over the space.  This impacted to fired me up to create a large installation to express the realty- 2016 election is not ended but continued. I have attached the original paper that I wrote in Barcelona for the show.

My plan to have a large- scale installation in the front hallway space at the Katzen will not  materialize this November.  I decided to extend this No End and evolve it into the next exhibition of the Mclean Projects for the Arts (MPA) space.  The space at the MPA is square and very different.  The show’s title is Global Emergency, which is a collaboration with Dr. Mineke Schipper.  I met Dr. Schipper at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residency in Lake Como, Italy in 2009.  We found out we had common interests and decided to create a collaborative work and publish a book together.  She is an Intercultural Comparative study professor at the Leiden University in the Netherlands. My task for the collaboration was to create images for 30 mythological stories themed around “the End of the World” that she had collected from all around the world.  Her intent is to connect ancient traumatic stories with today’s environmental and social problems.  We had two exhibitions; one in the Netherlands (2019) and the second in Japan (2018). Both exhibitions only displayed 30 paintings and stories, but at the MPA we want to address today’s apocalyptic situation with climate change and the coronavirus pandemic. We want to show 30 paintings on paper and 30 mythological stories with the aid of QR codes in the left side space of the Emerson Gallery of MPA.   A viewer can point a smartphone camera on a QR code in order to pull up and read the corresponding story.  In the right side space, I am going to project video images of tsunamis, earthquakes, wildfires, floods, melting glacial ice, covid 19 etc. on suspended oval shaped disc that is hand made by cheesecloth and kozo paper on a printed pale photograph of dead tree over wire mesh within the No End space. Once you are inside of space, the work creates discomfort while showing unfathomable events.  I still call it No End as our struggles continue. We hope this exhibition signals the necessity to change our climate change policies and promote global discussion and action through a public forum.  I still think that public awareness is important even if policy makers and politicians play a bigger role in legislating change.  An artist is like a tree.  If the environment is not right for the survival of tree, it will die.  If there is suppression speech up by a government, all our trees will die eventually.

Cloud within Cloud is the third work that I have planned to include for the Paradox show.  This deals with clouds in the sky and clouds that stores digital memories that are accessible with computers.  Clouds in the sky evoke feelings of hopes and dreams for me. At the same time, clouds are metaphors for life itself. They look so beautiful from the ground or from far away; however, they are empty and there is nothing once we are inside of them.  I would like to create an artwork that carries my fantasy, hopes and dreams, yet reflects my complex emotional paradoxical feeling of nothingness through my Cloud artwork.  Hand cast resin and, stainless steel wire are used for this piece. The dimensions are 76”x96”x10”.

No End and No Beginning is the fourth work that was scheduled to be included for the Paradox show.

The snail like shape is suspended from the ceiling.  Two opposite elements form this shape: one is binary codes (1 and 0) that are used for computer language,  the second is ice. Ice melts if the temperature is above 0 degrees.  It is a delicate balance in nature to exist.  I wanted to contrast the  precariousness in nature with today’s digital technology.  I think the combined two elements create a tension.  There is no clear end and no clear beginning in those elements.  It is another paradoxical existence. 

In order to conclude this short essay, I would like to mention the following during the era of  pandemic.

I have remembered the importance of cooking for family members everyday since eating healthy is  essential for each of us.  At the same time I noticed how important it is to have something that makes us fulfill our energy and bring joy each day.  We do not know when we die; however, we do not want to live for coming death.  Our lives gain fulfillment from working on the things we are passionate about.  For me making art is a key for my survival.

August 11, 2020, Yuriko Yamaguchi

Night Watch Bell

8′ x 8′ x 7′, 2019

Trump tweets and Sutras on velum papers over grid wire meshes. They are covered by cheese cloth and Kozo paper pulp. After drying them candle flames burn them partially. Brushing liquid resin over surfaces make them rigid and preserved.

After us the deluge: Exhibition portrays the end of humanity, Leiden University, Netherlands, July 15 – August 31, 2019

Leiden university show press release, July 11, 2019

After us the flood?

Text and Photo: Maarten Boersema

… The exposition “Humanity’s End as a New Beginning” displays images from stories about the end of days.

… “In the paintings I see over and over again signs of hope.”

Leiden

From a lying figure on the ground surrounded by red sky to a person gazing over an endless blue sea. And from a big dove to a bright yellow light in the center of a black plain. These are four of the thirty painted images of the end of the world that can now be seen at the Old University Library in Leiden on the Rapenburg.  In the cabinets in the foyer thirty paintings by the Japanese-American artist Yuriko Yamaguchi (1948) have been hung since mid-July.  She worked to create this exhibit together with Mineke Schipper (1938).  During her career, Schipper, now Emeritus Professor of Literature at Leiden University, has collected myths about the end of days from around the world.  She published a selection of these myths in 2009 in her book: After the flood.  Soon afterwards she made contact with Yamaguchi and they decided to work together.  Earlier this year Yamaguchi’s paintings with the Schipper’s text were shown in Japan, and later this year the exhibit will go to Washington.

A visitor to the exhibit shares her feelings out loud:”When I saw the announcement of this exhibit I was initially depressed, but in the paintings I see over and over again signs of hope. In one painting a rainbow, in another a boat with survivors or a tree that spreads life.”

The show contains two separate parts.  The first contains stories and paintings over the nearly end of the world in the past.  For example, this section exhibits the Biblical story of Noah and the Hindu story of Brahma and creation of death.  The second part emphasizes stories about the end of days, with special attention to the Biblical Apocalypse and the stories in the Koran.  The two sections are connected by a painting derived from a Japanese myth.  Japanese mythology has no “end of days” story, but does contain a story where the gods prevent this disaster.  According to Schipper, the stories and paintings confront us with how we must deal with the world and each other.  She speaks calmly and carefully but the urgency is audible in her words:”If we don’t listen to the lessons from the gods in all these stories, then together we will bring catastrophe upon the Earth.  Our gluttony will bring death and destruction upon us.”  One of her favorite paintings in this exhibit shows passengers in small fishing boat in the middle of a huge devastating wave.  The drawing is inspired by a myth from the Fiji islands.  “In the painting I see the vulnerability of people and humanity as a whole.  The waves will persist, but the small planet where we live is in the danger zone.”.

Similarities

Over the decades, Schipper work and life have shown her interest in the similarities among peoples and cultures around the world, with emphasis on stories and literature. She has written many books on these similarities, each with its own subject, for example: creation stories, proverbs about women, or stories about the world’s first inhabitants.  “After years of study I have found a great number of similarities among the various ethnic groups. I don’t understand why we always emphasize the difference between peoples instead of the similarities.”  To avoid the demise of the world, Schipper thinks it is necessary to recognize and utilize the similarities.  “The more we recognize our similarities, the more peaceful the world will become.  It’s time to shoulder our responsibility and demonstrate our common humanity.”

The last painting of the exhibit shows an image drawn from the end of the Bible, where the Last Judgment  and the new versions of Earth and Heaven are discussed.  The painting is abstract and resembles a rusty-brown stony terrain. “This is one of Yuriko’s favorite images.  Perhaps this image will stimulate humanity to go out and work for a new heaven on Earth.”

The exhibit Humanity’s End as a New Beginning is free and open until August 30 at the old University Library (Rapenburg 70, Leiden), Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Humanity’s End as a New Beginning at Museum Haus Kasuya, October 4 – December 23, 2018 Mineke Schipper/Yuriko Yamaguchi

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Comment on Beauty

Museum of Haus Kasuya of Contemporary Art in Yokosuga, Kanagawa is running a special exhibition:  What mythologies teach us today, Humanity’s End as a New Beginning.  The purpose of this exhibit is to offer  general public to reflect how we can live in today’s chaotic world with repeated wars, environmental and natural disasters. This is the collaboration of Dr. Mineke Schipper, Dutch scholar who has collected thirty mythological stories that dealt with the End of the World with Yuriko Yamaguchi, who is a contributor of thirty visual images. She lives in the United States.

If bad behaviors dominate the world…..

Most of mythological stories seem to be happy ending by giving a last hope among the limited survivors even though all the existing world mythologies encompass the end of the world as a theme.  This is what Haruko Wakae, the director of the museum explains.  The mythology will play the role of sending messages and warning signs to future generations by telling the all different kinds of disaster which older generations experienced. Based upon this notion this exhibition will be a mile stone  to think about our future for all of us who are agonizing of environmental and natural enormous  problems.

Thirty images, 35cm width and 25-28cm hight, are not large; however, the content threatens  us with a huge whirl pool, people rushing to escape, razing huge wave and falling sky.  “Deluge from the Subterranean” is powerful especially.  There is a woman lying under the burning red sky that gives us the impression of nearing the end of the world.  The large sun in the sky connects to the mouth of that lying woman.  Although the world ends by deluge, that woman conceived a child of Sun that is the Indian American mythology from Apache, Arizona.

“The sun eats his children” is the African mythology from Fang, Gabon.  The image of sun that is trying to swallow earth is very frightening. This is the story to admonish people.

The overwhelming bad human behaviors on the earth will trigger to the end of the world.

On the other hand,  Schipper is pointing out that no mythology about the end of the world exists in Japan.  She inserts one Japanese mythology of Amaterasu and Susanoo, darkness as punishment.  You can see a slight sense of light from the dark background. She comments it is very unique that various gods maneuver  numerous dangerous circumstances in order to avoid ultimate end of the world in Japan.

Various sense of touch

Yamaguchi’s skill and technique is worth mentioning. The most interesting part is that she is using papers that normally used for making posters for outdoor.  They do not absorb water.  Since they resist water, a certain amount of time is required to dry.  Pigments dry slowly and build up on the surface to make it shiny.  She also employs the technique called decalcomania  that pigmented papers are pressed together.  Yamaguchi’s pictures give a sense of transparency like a stained-glass  sometimes and various sense of touch simultaneously.

It took ten years since Yamaguchi and Schipper started their collaboration.

In the museum people are able to read mythological stories in Japanese via QR code through the use of their own smart phones.  

For the introduction for this organized show Schipper highlights this message.

Now is the time for us to learn from history that culture, art and science cost less than war.

Yuriko Yamaguchi

Sculptor, painter.

Born in 1948 in Japan.

Moved to California and received BA at UC Berkeley

MFA at University of Maryland

Active in the US.

Dr. Mineke Schipper

Intercultural literature scholar

Born in 1938 in Holland

Professor emeritus  Leiden University, also research  in Nigeria, Kenya,                              Chinese Social Science Institute

Among many publications, “Why Gods made Human beings?’ translated in Japanese

By

Sankei shinbun (Sankei News paper)

Akihiko Tozaki

Solo Exhibition Interconnected, No End Web from May 19 – June 23, 2018 in Houston, Texas

FINAL_Yuriko_Press_Release2018_Page_1FINAL_Yuriko_Press_Release2018_Page_2FINAL_Yuriko_Press_Release2018_Page_3

http://www.barbaradavisgallery.com/yuriko-yamaguchi.html

No End. An installation by Yuriko Yamaguchi

No End. An installation by Yuriko Yamaguchi from WTA – Werner Thöni Artspace on Vimeo.

Werner Thöni Artspace in Barcelona, Spain – Press Release (English & Spanish)

Press release_YurikoYamaguchi_WTA2017

Follow the Werner Thöni Artspace Facebook page

Yuriko Yamaguchi, Asia Society Texas Center, Houston, TX, April 23 – August 21, 2016

A Minimalist Heaven, Electrified Romanticism and Handsome Ovals

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-minimalist-heaven-electrified-romanticism-and-handsome-ovals-1457986986

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Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

Galleries of Chelsea: Howard Scott Gallery Show

Source: http://www.wheretraveler.com/new-york-city/manhattan-s-march-art-mart

Excerpt:

Even though many of the dealers in the Chelsea art zone have booths at the large fairs, they keep their gallery doors open for sidewalk strollers and all those out-of-town collectors. The walkable High Line and the new Whitney Museum of American Art energize the south end of this westside neighborhood.

With street map in hand (www.chelseagallerymap.com), art lovers thread their way up one side and down the other of gallery-lined streets from W. 17th or so to W. 28th sts., btw 10th & 11th aves. Look for Howard Scott Gallery, showing the ethereal sculpture of Yuriko Yamaguchi. With LED light, she transforms hand-cast resin and stainless steel wire into jewel-like cloud forms at 519 W. 20th St., www.howardscottgallery.com

Yuriko Yamaguchi, “Bliss in Holy Warrior,” 2014. (©Yuriko Yamaguchi, courtesy the artist) Yamaguchi is represented by Chelsea’s Howard Scott Gallery, where her current one-person show, “Interconnected in Art, Nature, Science and Technology,” is on view Feb. 18–March 26, 2016.

 

 

Interconnected at the Figge Museum in Davenport, Iowa: January 24 – May 31, 2015

Figge Museum Show January 24-May 31, 2015

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Interconnected: Science, Nature, and Technologies

“Interconnected: Science, Nature, and Technologies” show at Adamson Gallery from April 11th to June 14th, 2014.

Interconnected/Cloud and Other Works

I believe that art is not separable from science, philosophy, social, economic or political reality. Art is something I cannot predict; rather, it happens without pre-knowledge. It happens with the force of energy and inevitability. I only have to carry it onwards to bring it into being a cohesive whole.

Creative energy is in a way like rain that comes down from the sky when the accumulated humidity can no longer remain suspended in the air and drops to the earth.

In such a way, my first “WEB” piece was born in 1999. I did not arrive at this title after a long deliberation over a catchy name for my work; instead, it came to me when I installed the work in the gallery. Coincidentally, several months later, I came across a book called The Web of Life on my basement bookshelf. In it, American physicist and systems theorist Fritjof Capra articulated the feelings that had motivated me to create such a piece:

“The basic tension is one between the parts and the whole. The emphasis on the parts has been called mechanistic, reductionist or atomistic; the emphasis on the whole holistic, organismic, or ecological……….

Understanding ecological interdependence means understanding relationships. It requires the shifts of perception that are characteristic of systems thinking-from parts to the whole, from objects to relationships, from contents to patterns. A sustainable human community is aware of the multiple relationships among its members…”

These quotations became the central focus of my art making. I found my purpose in creating works that remind people that we are all connected in many overlapping webs woven out of the common forces that affect the human condition: family origin, economic stressors, religious beliefs, nature, time, place, and technology. After all, we are only human beings who were born and will die, only to be replaced by others in the community of man.

Cloud

This newest work, “Cloud” evolved through a gradual progression. First, I was curious about the word itself: cloud systems store endless amounts of digital records and data. I also recalled my childhood memory of the Japanese movie called “Non-chan Rides on the Cloud.” I was only in first grade when I watched this movie and admired Non-chan, who could float on the cloud. It depicted a dream world at that time. Now, everybody can get on the cloud through technological means like when in an airplane. Once we get into the cloud, we become surrounded by humid air and find nothing. But I can still admire clouds from the ground, especially since clouds somehow evoke feelings of hopes and dreams for me. At the same time, clouds are metaphors for life itself. They look so beautiful from the ground or from far away; however, they are empty and there is nothing once we are inside of them.

I would like to create an artwork that carries my fantasy hopes and dreams, yet reflects my complex emotional paradoxical feeling of nothingness through my Cloud artwork. I intentionally chose onions and potatoes as metaphorical substances to make my work. When we peel onion skins one after another, what are left are skins but nothing else. When we open a potato, there is nothing unlike when we open an apple. This reminds me of life itself. In order to make my sculpture, I peeled onion skins and sliced potatoes and dried them until they lost 90% of their moisture. What I discovered during the process was how beautiful the resulting aged skin was. I also was drawn towards the unexpected beautiful curvature of sliced potatoes and onion skin that occurred by reducing the moisture from the cells. After making a silicon rubber mold of the dried onion skins and sliced potatoes, I made a range of differently pigmented resin pieces. To me they are like individual cells. I made modules first by connecting four or five pieces with stainless steel wire without the use of sketches. It was quite like the chance operation John Cage mentioned for his work process. I then connect the modules together to discover the right matches. Gradually, a substantial shape emerged. My work tells me what to do next. I just follow. This process is similar to the growth of an organism.

Is there any relationship between my artwork, Cloud, and the technological cloud? Both are artificial products and both are able to multiply endlessly; once we are determined to destroy them, they can be corrupted instantly. In today’s civilized society, we no longer can live without technology and artificial materials. We co-exist with them although we are part of nature.

Why do we live like this? Why do we constantly create new products? As long as we have the energy to move on, we are always longing for new encounters and discoveries as we are born to be curious.

As we tend to make mistakes and meet all different kinds of difficulties, I stumble upon unexpected problems often while I work. Making art is never easy; however, when I witness my work reaching maturity by coming to a cohesive whole, I always feel it is a rewarding activity and want to continue until my energy runs out.

Yuriko Yamaguchi

March 24, 2014

 

 

From the Washington City Paper, “Yuriko Yamaguchi’s Mixed-Media Clouds at Adamson Gallery”

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Yuriko Yamaguchi’s Mixed-Media Clouds at Adamson Gallery

In computing, “the cloud” is just a metaphor. In the art of Yuriko Yamaguchi, it becomes compellingly tangible.

The Osaka-born Yamaguchi, who’s been working in the U.S. since the 1970s and who is now based in Vienna, Va., uses steel, copper and brass wire along with small pieces of hand-cast resin to create sprawling modular networks that suggest communications networks with an uncanny lightness.

Yamaguchi has been toying with the intersection of digital networks and art since the Internet go-go days of the late 1990s, when she began creating a series called “Web” that, as she writes, explored the “many overlapping webs woven out of the common forces that affect the human condition: family origin, economic stressors, religious beliefs, nature, time, place, and technology.”

One of these early works is on display at Adamson—a shower of resin and wire that telegraphs the promise of Yamaguchi’s more recent works but which is hampered by its overly monochromatic palette.

Yamaguchi’s more recent work—a series she calls “Cloud”—represents an improvement on this approach, seamlessly blending art with biology.

One piece, “Coming,” features two nodes linked by a long, thin connector—a virtual axon and dendrite, those carriers of electric impulses that power the human nervous system. Another, “UR #1,” is vaguely heart-shaped, lit by the warm, red glow of LED lights.

Yamaguchi’s pièce de résistance, however is titled, simply, “Cloud” (top and bottom). Up close, “Cloud” is an organic but orderly agglomeration of cast resin and wire. Viewed from a distance, however, its four distinct parts are harmonious, forming an utterly convincing cloud, palpable but evanescent.

“Once we get into the cloud, we become surrounded by humid air and find nothing,” Yamaguchi writes. Like the computing cloud, she sees her art as both “artificial” and “able to multiply endlessly.”

Yamaguchi’s work, more than most artists, pretty much nails what she set out to do.

Through June 14 at Adamson Gallery, 1515 14th St NW, Washington, D.C.

Interconnected: Science, Nature, and Technologies, April 11th – June 14th, 2014

ADAMSON GALLERY

Interconnected: Science, Nature, and Technologies, April 11th – June 14th, 2014

Public opening reception: Friday, April 11, 2014, 6-8 PM


Adamson Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new multimedia installation pieces by Yuriko Yamaguchi. Like the clouds for which they are named, these ethereal but vital pieces are constructed from networks of steel, copper, and brass wire, which connect hand-cast resin representations of silicon molds made from organic materials. It is from this mixture of the natural and the unnatural: biology and technology; the visible and the invisible; the manual and the automatic; the web and the cloud, that the exhibition takes its main themes. As Yamaguchi says, “I found my purpose in creating works that remind people that we are all connected in many overlapping webs woven out of the common forces that affect the human condition: family origin, economic stressors, religious beliefs, nature, time, place, and technology.”

Yamaguchi likens her process to the “chance operations” of musician John Cage. For some pieces, she begins by drying cabbage leaves, peeled onion skins and sliced potatoes until they no longer resemble their former selves and are instead almost abstract objects that have taken on new, curved shapes: biological, but not natural. She then creates a silicon rubber mold and hand-casts pigmented resin in a range of colors, which she connects into modules until a substantial shape emerges. Other pieces make use of leaves, wax, and coral, all of which are recombined into new and unexpected shapes, colors, and forms. Yamaguchi states, “My work tells me what to do next. I just follow. This process is similar to the growth of an organism.”

It is certainly easy to view Yamaguchi’s exquisite sculptural works, sometimes studded with tiny LED lights, as transcendental organic bodies: the curvature of the resin shapes and the networked wires cast ghostly shadows on the walls and the ceilings upon which they are mounted and suspended. They bring to mind, as the artist intends, a technological rendition of nature; an otherworldly environment. At the same time, they also reference another interplay of technology and nature: the information cloud; a deliberate move on Yamaguchi’s part: “Both are artificial products and both are able to multiply endlessly; once we are determined to destroy them, they can be corrupted instantly. In today’s civilized society, we no longer can live without technology and artificial materials. We co-exist with them although we are part of nature.”

Yuriko Yamaguchi was born in Osaka Japan but has lived and worked in the United States since the early 1970s. Her work has been exhibited internationally and has been collected by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the National Museum of American Art. She is also on faculty of the Studio Art program at George Washington University. This is her second solo exhibition at Adamson Gallery.

For more information, please contact the gallery at (202) 232 0707 or info@adamsongallery.com.

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ADAMSON GALLERY / 1515 14th Street NW, DC 20005 / 202.232.0707 / adamsongallery.com

Yamaguchi PR-1

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Wonder of Wonders at Dulles International Airport Station A

“Wonder of Wonders” Now at Dulles International Airport

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“Wonder of Wonders” Now at Dulles International Airport

New Permanent Art Depicts Travel and Exploration for Passengers

See full press release here.

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