Mayuka 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.
Regarding her new series entitled AnimalCrossing on view at Corey Helford Gallery from October 3 – November 7, Yamamoto shares: “It's been nearly 20 years since I drew a picture of a child wearing an animal costume or becoming an animal. The reason for this is that, even though I am no longer a child, when I asked myself why I draw these pictures, I still feel the nostalgia of my childhood as an adult and it is still in my heart. It seems that my way of preserving this feeling is to continually paint these pictures. I have a certain memory of when I was young: My parents were always working very hard, but Christmas time 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.”
Erika Sanada creates beautifully creepy creatures in relationships that are often sweet and sometimes sinister. As a perpetually worried soul, her works are a way for the artist to confront the darker side of her nature as well as an outlet for the sensitivities etched on her personality through the bitter experiences of youth.
Regarding her new series entitled Dream State on view at Corey Helford Gallery from October 3 – November 7 , Sanada shares: “My work represents the constant anxieties I face everyday and these worries amplify right before I go to sleep. These thoughts come and go, but always dwell in my mind. When I think they’re gone, I fall asleep, but they make their way into my dreams. For this show, I’m drawing inspiration from these dream states. I remember most of my dreams, they are vivid, weird, fun, and sometimes frightening. However, those dreams help me understand more about my anxieties and how to cope with it.”
For this show, I’m drawing inspiration from these dream states. I remember most of my dreams, they are vivid, weird, fun, and sometimes frightening. However, those dreams help me understand more about my anxieties and how to cope with it.”