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Howard Scott Gallery

Yuriko Yamaguchi - Interconnected
Yuriko YAMAGUCHI   
Review by Robert C. Morgan in Asian Art News
September 8 - Oct 15, 2011

  Yuriko Yamaguchi at Howard Scott Gallery
Robert C. Morgan Asian Art News Volume 21 number 6  November/December 2011

Before introducing the exuberant yet subtle wall sculpture of the Japanese-born artist Yuriko Yamaguchi, I would like to say a word about the Howard Scott Gallery in lower West Chelsea. For the past three decades, Mr. Scott has consistently shown some of the most elegantly refined. Aesthetically endowed, and carefully chosen work of any gallerist in his region of the city. He has never given way to commercial trends or believed that high-profile installation art is the final word on art. His exhibitions are based on genuine connoisseurship and are uniformly consistent in quality, despite what critics say or endorse or have often mistakenly ignored. Thus, Yuriko Yamaguchi's most recent group of works, titled Interconnected, is a clear example of the direction this gallery has chosen to go. I remember reading several years ago a critic who referred to "aesthetic art" as being primarily focused on resonance, feeling, and the purity of form. Unfortunately these attributes have been under siege in recent years; but not in the work of Yamaguchi. There is little doubt that her large red circular work. Energy (2011), made from literally hundreds of relatively small cast-resin elements, strung together with wire, could be under rood in terms of "aesthetic art." It is the first work to be seen upon entering the space, (Scott is always careful to place a work with an acute visual impact on this wall.)

While Energy may be seen as some sort of cosmic bang or unleashing or constellular genesis in which a new universe is emerging into an expanded field of electrons or neutrons, it also retains a kind of ecstatic stillness and meditative quality, which seems less like a contradiction than a perfect balance. Over the red resin elements, the artist has painted dabs of black as the stones emanate out from the center. The choice of black-instead of an intensely light pigment-gives the work considerable force and density that embodies the paradox of movement and restraint that this work contains.

Season of Change (2011) is a lighter, delicate, more horizontal sculpture re that holds the wall without any illusion of emerging out or in. In contrast to Energy, which seems to push outwards, Season of Change -the other major work in this exhibition- appears to hover, to vibrate in a way not through optical trickery but through an acuteness of balance in which tension seems to reside secretly within. Here the resin elements are separate rather than unified. They appear to dance in space with slight touches of primary color here and there. Senility (2011), with its somewhat ominous title, has a certain buoyancy and expressivity that is also contained by the universe. The ultramarine blue aggregation has movement less than force as it appears to move in a downward direction off to one side. However, the strength of the form is all the while inexorable in its presence sustaining itself as life moves ahead. Senility suggests a component of thought, yet not removed from the wholeness of being, perhaps in the Buddhist or Heideggerian sense during a finely tuned moment of regeneration.

Finally, in the form of a coda, I would say that Yamaguchi's ink drawings, including Root and Black Rain (both 2010) have an immeasurable quality that is both dense and light: the kind of paradox that I would expect from this artist. There is a longing, perhaps, as in Web/Desire for Sky (2010) that sounds like a roughly Anglicized phonetic translation from some lost ideogram. Lost or displaced, the aesthetic function of these drawings holds in abeyance everything this superb exhibition appears to represent: a human cry for peace and stability within the reach of nature, a form of emptiness. These works carry us from one place to another until we catch ourselves only to recognize something that we know beyond knowing quite what it is.

Robert C. Morgan

            
529 West 20th Street, 7th Floor | New York, NY 10011 | T: +1 646.486.7004 | info@howardscottgallery.com | Tuesday - Saturday, 11-6pm