Gallery News & Events
14 September through 27 October 2001
Artist reception: 14 September 7-9 PM
Acting on the intuition that all representations of chaos – no matter how scattered, spilled or splattered-acquire a kind of order when given form, Yamaguchi takes this “failure” of representation and makes it into the content of her art. As the title Storm Pattern suggests, her chosen metaphor is the maelstrom, the violent storm at sea that figures so prominently in the poetry and painting of the Romantic Movement. But where her predecessors looked into the maelstrom and found a disorder beyond all reason, Yamaguchi discerns a pattern. Each of these paintings, in oil and metal leaf on paper, begins with a great spill of paint (arbitrary and capricious like the storm it alludes to). Woven around and through this swirling base are meticulously rendered images of water in its various manifestations, from evaporation and precipitation to the crashing waves of a Tsunami. To this turbulent soup, Yamaguchi adds bold geometric designs in brightly colored paint over bronze or silver leaf that operate as a strange kind of weather graphics of the artist’s own invention. Believing as she does that the abstract never escapes reality, that everything means something, Yamaguchi deploys the tropes of representational painting and abstraction interchangeably. In this way, storm clouds take form as puffy white tubes in one painting and as a folding Japanese screen in the next. “All our ideas come from the natural world,” the poet Wallace Stevens observed in his notebook, “trees = umbrellas.” To which Yamaguchi adds, storm clouds = Japanese screens.