PRESS RELEASE - SIMPLY BEING
Paintings and Drawings by SHARON YAMAMOTO
The Gallery in Cork Street, 28 Cork Street, London W1S 3NG
Private View: Wednesday, June 28, 6:30-10:00pm
Exhibition runs from June 26 - July 1, 2006, 10am-10pm
Expect the unexpected. Art that is accessible even if you have been brainwashed at art school.
Like her namesake credited with planning the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, Sharon Yamamoto is thoughtful, disciplined yet compassionate. Her show, Simply Being, comes to Cork Street like a quiet surprise, a Zen-like intrusion into the predominance of artist-centered art in the contemporary art market. There is not an unmade bed or a pickled animal in sight, and the butterflies in this show are actually drawn or painted.
Yamamoto comes from samurai ancestry and is grounded in the bushido code of honour, where appreciation of life is more important than the life of the individual. Therefore, she says, the work is simply being done through her, not by her. Artists are just the vehicles through which art is created. It is only by the insistence of her collectors and agent that she signs any of her strange, narrative pictures.
Classically trained to work from life models from the age of twelve at the renowned Art Institute of Chicago, Yamamoto lists among her influences medieval art, the Impressionists, superhero comic books and Walt Disney's early animated films. It would be incorrect to label her simplified, bulky figures as na´ve and more accurate to see in them what past reviewers have noted, that they spring from an archetypal world of the collective unconscious. But psychology and cerebral conundrums are not this artist's concerns. Rather, the brightly-painted muscular people and other-worldly children invite you to make up your own story, and you don't have to tell it out loud to anyone. For those who enjoy symbolic imagery with a feel-good vibe and who want to avoid the 'I don't get it but I'll pretend' experience, this show brings good tidings. Here unreal people and animals are mysterious messengers, inhabiting familiar yet fictitious landscapes. Rodin is accredited with the saying that an ignorant man destroys a work of art. Yamamoto's work is friendly, engaging you to really look hard and create a work of art, to enter the sacred realm of imagination, beyond the mechanics of the conditioned intellect. For Yamamoto, imagination is the prime source and intelligence is a tool, rather than the intellect. She listens carefully to the comments of children who seem to gravitate to her shows. Her works always begin as an accidental mess, but inevitably what emerge are bold, sensual figures in impossible poses often compared to Gauguin's. They are her trademark portrayal of consciousness, what we experience as living, loving non-physical beings, raising more questions than answers. Why is that child way up in that tree? Who is that big red man? Interpret as you like. 'What fills the heart comes out of the mouth' or off the brush in this case.
When she is not in her studio, Yamamoto is a perennial student of Judaio-Christian history and eastern thought. She has spent sixteen years studying at the College of Psychic Studies in London and has obtained masters certification for religious history and thought from the Universal Truth Center in Miami, Florida. Her Bachelors of Fine Art degree was obtained in 1969 from Illinois Wesleyan University shortly after which she moved to London. Her work has been purchased by collectors including Sir Freddie Laker, Antony Worall Thompson and Nigel Griffiths MP. She has worked as a muralist, art teacher and ran her own gallery in Miami Beach before returning to the UK three years ago.
The private view for Simply Being at The Gallery in Cork Street, 28 Cork Street, London W1S 3NG is on June 28, 2006 from 6:30-10:00pm. Specially invited guests: Boris Johnson MP, Nigel Griffiths MP and Antony Worall Thompson. RSVP: 07779 845074. For more information, see www.sharonyamamoto.com