April 13 – May 5, 2018.
Opening reception April 13 @ 6pm
When Meg Yamamoto moved from Alberta to British Columbia two years ago, she found herself frequently encountering flora and fauna that she had never seen before. Yamamoto realized that an understanding of one’s surroundings requires a knowledge that is acquired over time and through direct experience of a place. Using art creation as a method of actively exploring the land to gain this experience and to establish her own connection to the land, the body of work she produced for her Master of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia Okanagan is about the life forms she has encountered in her time in Kelowna, which is expressed in a variety of mediums. In this exhibition, Yamamoto shows three pieces from this body of work: an installation of strung objects (acorns, walnut shells, and horse chestnuts), ponderosa pine branches with bark beetle lines filled in with acrylic paint, and bundles of ponderosa pine needles.
Making an effort to walk from place to place rather than by bus or car has been an important part of Yamamoto’s creation process, and the found natural materials presented have been picked up from the ground during my walks. By being interested in what is at her feet while walking, she is acknowledge that she is physically connected to the ground, and this helps her to become more aware of the others she shares the ground with.
The suspended acorns, walnuts, and horse chestnuts portray the interconnectedness of the environment. While the objects are strung individually and physically disconnected, their interconnection becomes apparent when even just one of the objects is set in motion, which would result in a knot that would be difficult to untangle. The delicate state of this installation also represents how easily the environment is affected by our actions and acknowledges the presence of the viewer.
The branches are finger-painted and carved with a small razor blade – Yamamoto wanted the interaction between the branches and her hands to be as close as possible in an attempt to overcome my disconnection to the objects.
The pine needle bundles represent the way she interacts with the needles found on the ground – having never seen such long pine needles before, she would reach down and pick up handfuls of the needles to examine them more closely. The bundles are made in a size that fits comfortably in my hands.
Meg Yamamoto’s hope for the viewer is to imagine the meditative and repetitive process of creating these works, and to imagine how these objects become more meaningful after dedicating time and effort to them.