The Ephemeral Existence of Mayuka Yamamoto
On Saturday, April 22nd, downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) will proudly present their next major solo show, Ephemeral Existence, from Japanese oil painter Mayuka Yamamoto in the Main Gallery.
Yamamoto is widely recognized as one of Japan’s leading second-generation contemporary artists, whose works depict children sporting animal features and enigmatic expressions. The artist’s oil paintings often appear reticent and introspective. The emotions of the child characters in Yamamoto’s works, or “animal boys” as she often calls them, are meant to be a mystery to the viewer. They exude an aura of otherworldly calm and demeanor that belies their true emotional and psychological states, juxtaposed against subtle settings painted in soft, muted color tones.
Regarding her new series, Yamamoto shares: “I created these new works hoping to express that ‘something’ certainly exists. I’ve visited many catacombs throughout Italy and France, and while doing so, I remember initially feeling I was searching for something but didn’t know what. Italy’s The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo left the strongest impression on me, as there were mummies of children (between 5-8 years old) wearing dresses. I couldn’t help but imagine the parents of those children, putting a brand new, beautiful dress on their deceased child, as was customary during this period (hundreds of years ago). For me, in that moment, ‘ephemeral existence’ was the most appropriate term for those children and I knew I found the meaning I was searching for…my journey was over.” Adding, “Most of my works are 51 x 38 inches in size, which I like because the canvas is large enough to look at but still easy to hold, like a little child. For this show, most of the pieces feature children dressed as animals and I tried painting them without facial expressions.”