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GR gallery is pleased to announce 'Menagerie', the second solo exhibition of Mayuka Yamamoto with the gallery. The show will feature a total of 15 artworks, revealing a new body of work of unprecedented purity. Among this a special recognition is merited by ‘White Dog Boy’ a 5 feet tall hand painted sculpture that challenged the artist with the new media and opens countless possibilities for the future, and ‘Forest’, the largest and most ambitious painting of the exhibition, presenting a complementary character of the three dimensional piece, rooted in an enchanting emotional landscape. The title not only alludes to the lavishly playful yet eerie and melancholic ambience of the cabinet of oddities and exotic animals of the eighteenth century, but also to the idea of the contiguity of divergence and the acceptance of diversity that Yamamoto adorable and introspective characters inspire.
Opening Reception: Friday November 03, 6:00pm - 8:00pm (Exhibition Dates: November 04 – December 02, 2023) Members of the press can contact GR gallery in advance to schedule a private viewing and/or an interview.
GR gallery, 255 Bowery (between Houston & Stanton) New York, NY 10002 | firstname.lastname@example.org | tel: +1 212 273 2900
Trapped in a minuscule liminal state in between cheerfulness and desolation, cute and rugged at the same time, Yamamoto protagonists guide the viewer through a magical journey made of memories, reflections, dreams and expectations, complemented by an omnipresent sense of nostalgia for the loss of the golden era, identified with childhood. These innocent, contemplative wide-eyed children wearing animal costumes identify with their suites at the point to start integrating with it and developing their character’s features, visions and behavior in order to remain suspended in a divergent dimension. Such an intriguing and complex style, able to gently harmonize feelings and atmospheres otherwise far apart, is difficult to categorize. The artist spotless oil technique execution, dominated by light tone pastel colors, a dreamy overlapping of soft layers and the mellow brushstrokes, together with the affability and cuteness of her characters, perfectly identifies with the Kawaii genre; while the melancholic aura and the fusion with the costume revive dystopian references.
Mayuka Yamamoto artistic concept and technique are strongly imbued with autobiographical notes, in fact she started painting children when she was pregnant. - I think the main reason why I started drawing pictures of children is that I remembered my childhood through my child care experience. I think it reminds me of my feelings at that time, such as being scared and wanting to be protected by something warm and fluffy. After or while making those paintings, I feel that the memory from that time comes back to me through the paintings-. And then again: “When I asked myself why I continue to draw these pictures, even though I am no longer a child, I realized I feel nostalgia for my childhood. It seems that my way of preserving this feeling is to paint these pictures continually”. Even her technique has been strongly affected by her motherhood. Since she didn’t have as much time as before to dedicate to her artworks, she was able to develop a new and genial manner of painting, consisting in creating first a small work, while nursing her baby or after the baby was asleep, and then copying the same image on a bigger canvas. Initially the small works were just for the artist’s use and not completely finished but later on she perfectioned also those and started exhibiting them.
Born in 1964 in Okayama, Japan, now works in between Tokyo and Gunma, Yamamoto is widely recognized as one of Japan’s leading second-generation contemporary artist. She received her master's degree at Tokyo's Musashino Art University in 1990 and joined the Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artist to continue her studies in London until 1999. Her works have been shown in several solo and group shows and found place in prestigious private and public collections all around the world.