Opening this Saturday, April 22 at Corey Helford Gallery, Japanese painter Mayuka Yamamoto unveils her latest selection of paintings in her solo show, “Ephemeral Existence”. Yamamoto is widely recognised as one of Japan’s leading second-generation contemporary artists. Her enigmatic “animal boys”, as she affectionately refers to them as, have become international sensations. Each character, staring back through their hard to read facial expressions, purposely piques curiosity in the viewer; what are they feeling? Is this the look of knowledge, of experience, or childlike emotion? We are left to come to our own conclusions as we lock eyes with these youthful subjects.
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.Mayuka Yamamoto
“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.” Mayuka Yamamoto continues. “For this show, most of the pieces feature children dressed as animals and I tried painting them without facial expressions.”
Mayuka Yamamoto: “Ephemeral Existence”
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 22, 2023 | 7:00pm – 11:00pm
Exhibitions Dates: April 22 – May 27, 2023
Corey Helford Gallery
Main Gallery, 571 S Anderson St (Enter on Willow St)
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Visiting Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
For inquiries, contact the gallery via [email protected]
From Press Release //
Mayuka Yamamoto’s artist’s oil paintings often appear reticent and introspective. The emotions of the child characters in Yamamoto’s works are meant to be a mystery to the viewer. They exude an aura of otherworldly calm and demeanour that belies their true emotional and psychological states, juxtaposed against subtle settings painted in soft, muted colour tones.
Open to the public and free of charge, Ephemeral Existence is set to debut on Saturday, April 22nd from 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm in the Main Gallery at CHG, alongside a solo show by Hera of HERAKUT in Gallery 2. The show marks Yamamoto’s fourth solo at CHG, following Monochrome, Apples and Animals (Sept. ’21), Animal Crossing (Oct. ’20), and Animal Boys (Feb. ’19).
About Mayuka Yamamoto //
Born in 1964 in Okayama, Japan, Mayuka Yamamoto received her master’s degree from Tokyo’s Masashino Art University in 1990 and joined the Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artists to continue her studies in London until 1999. She currently works in-between Tokyo and Gunma.
Widely recognized as one of Japan’s leading second-generation contemporary artists, Yamamoto is known for her oil paintings portraying children in animal suits (or some other defensive, physical animalistic costume) with enigmatic facial expressions. The children seem to instinctively hide behind a second skin, like a protective armor, in response to their emotions and psychological state. In some pieces, Yamamoto paints settings inspired by nature, further enhancing the contemplative space in which the subject seems to find solace in the dream-like natural habitat.
Yamamoto has exhibited her work throughout Japan, as well as in Korea, Amsterdam, New York, and Los Angeles. In addition to being found in prestigious private and public collections all around the world, the artist’s work has been profiled by Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, Juxtapoz, American Art Collector, and Japan’s Art Collector, among others.
About Corey Helford Gallery //
Established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband, television producer/creator Bruce Helford, 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. Collectively, their artists encompass style genres such as New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti, and Street Art. Located in downtown Los Angeles in a robust 12,000 square foot building, CHG presents new exhibitions approximately every six weeks.