Reception for the artist: Thursday, 8 September 2011
In Interconnected, her second show at Howard Scott Gallery, Yuriko Yamaguchi creates mesmerizing sculptures that explore the often surprising connectedness of humans and nature. Regarded as one of America's foremost conceptual artists, she creates sculptures from both man-made and natural materials, illuminating emotionally charged themes such as change and death. Such a work is the artist's Energy, the exhibit's eight-foot-tall oval centerpiece created with hundredths of red-and-black cast resin pieces connected by gleaming stainless steel wires.
Ms. Yamaguchi has filled the show with color, which carries powerful, expressive messages, as in Energy's brilliant reds. By contrast, the softer color of the airy, 'wall-hugging' Season of Change evokes life's fragility. More turbulent and less ordered than Energy, its quivering network of chartreuse, yellow-orange, red and purple resin pieces held by copper, brass and stainless steel wires express change. The artist likens the eight-foot-horizontal sculpture to life itself and its final dissolution.
Yamaguchi's work is included in prominent public and private collections, including Washington, DC's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, also in Washington; and Northampton, MA's Smith College Museum of Art. Her major museum shows include the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura, Japan (August through October, 2004), Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (Winston-Salem, NC, 1986 and 1992, and Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (Wilmington. 2001). Among her several public commissions is Georgia on my Mind at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. She is currently adjunct professor of sculpture at the George Washington University, Washington, DC.
Excerpt from the artist statement:
Please open your mind
We exist in the vast universe
With no solid fixed shape
Yet, endless atoms fill it
Atoms move around freely and keep changing shapes
Until they form a steady state of relationship
Then they stop moving
Please open your mind
We grasp as a phenomenon that an object has shape
Yet, a phenomenon keeps changing continuously
There is nothing that does not change
Because there is no substance, we can create form.
There is no substance and things change;
That is why matter exists
From Wisdom to Die in Order to Live, by Keiko Yanagisawa (p. 6-7)
While cleaning out my mother's room right after her death in March 2008, I found this small book. She must have tried to understand the approaching end of her life. I, too, try to understand my mother's death. This book seems to open the door for me to understand the transience of life.
I like to engage in creating works that engage materials, time, and labor. Art making becomes life itself. I prefer not to perceive the end result before I start a work. I prefer taking the time to discover while in process, more so than a successful planned construction. My works continue to evolve and change until I arrive at a state of satisfaction.
I recently realized that my work relates to that book I found in my mother's room: Wisdom to Die in Order to Live.