Contemporary artists Mayuka Yamamoto entitled Monochrome, Apples and Animals premiering Saturday, September 25th at Corey Helford Gallery-Los Angeles, California.
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 belie their true emotional and psychological states, juxtaposed against subtle settings painted in soft, muted color tones.
L-R: “Flapping Penguin Boy” (oil on canvas, 51.3” x 35.2”) “Little Polar Bear Boy” (oil on canvas, 17.9” x 13.1”) and
“Sitting Pink Bear Boy” (oil on canvas, 51.3” x 35.2”)
The oil paintings portray children in animal suits and reveal their inner world. Like a protective armor in response to their emotions and psychological state, they seem to instinctively hide behind a second skin in the form of animal costumes or some other defensive physical, animalistic features. In some of the pieces, Yamamoto paints settings inspired by nature, further enhancing the contemplative space into which the subject seems to find solace in the dreamlike natural habitat.
Regarding her new series, Yamamoto shares: “I wanted to keep this a secret for myself and keep it in my heart. Many years ago, there was a place I thought I had to go to, and I went there, the Catacombs in Palermo. There is a space for child mummies, and they are just standing there in dresses. The space was filled with the love of the mothers for their children. This scene lingered in my mind for a long time. I think most of the children in the pictures I draw are just standing or sitting, without much movement much like the Catacombs. I think it’s because that space full of love remains in me to this day.
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. I have a certain memory of when I was young; my parents always worked very hard, but Christmas was our family time together at home. It was a special day. Even now, when I smell the candles on a Christmas cake, my heart returns to my childhood as clear as if it were yesterday. It’s the same feeling as when I finished drawing these pictures. When I look at my work, I feel a little sadness and longing, but also happy.”
Monochrome, Apples and Animals premieres Saturday, September 25th in the Main Gallery, alongside a solo show from Adrian Cox, entitled Dream Country, in Gallery 2.
The gallery’s visiting hours are Thursday-Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm. As coronavirus cases continuing to rise, CHG will be requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of entry into the gallery, plus guest temperatures will be checked and masks will be required.
Main Gallery: Monochrome, Apples and Animals by Mayuka Yamamoto
Gallery 2: Dream Country by Adrian Cox
About Mayuka Yamamoto:
Born in 1964 in Okayama, Japan, Yamamoto received her master’s degree at Tokyo’s Masashino 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 shows held by Japan’s Gallery Tsubaki and her 2007 solo show, titled Deer Boy and Other infants, was hosted by Canvas International Arts gallery in Amsterdam. She also participated in group shows at the Korean International Art Fair (2004–2007) and Young Japanese Painting (2007, Amsterdam).
Yamamoto is known for her oil paintings portraying children in animal suits or possessing animal features, to reveal their inner world. Like a protective armor in response to their emotions and psychological state, they seem to instinctively hide behind a second skin in the form of animal costumes or some other defensive physical animalistic features. In some of the pieces, Yamamoto paints settings inspired by nature, further enhancing the contemplative space into which the subject seems to find solace in the dreamlike natural habitat.
About Corey Helford Gallery:
Established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband, television producer/creator Bruce Helford (The Conners, Anger Management, The Drew Carey Show, and George Lopez), Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) has since evolved into one of the premier galleries of New Contemporary art. Its goal as an institution is supporting the growth of artists, from the young and emerging, to the well-known and internationally established. CHG represents a diverse collection of international artists, primarily influenced by today’s pop culture and collectively encompassing style genres such as New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti, and Street Art. Located in downtown Los Angeles at 571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033, in a robust 12,000 square foot building, CHG presents new exhibitions approximately every six weeks. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, with visiting hours being Thursday through Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm. For more info and an upcoming exhibition schedule, visit CoreyHelfordGallery.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. For available prints from CHG, visit CHGPrints.com.
We would like to thank Jacob Mask of Chummy Press for the press release.