Commonwealth and Council presents pour crawl cast peel, Carrie Yamaoka’s first collaboration with the space. Operating at the interstices between painting and photography, Yamaoka’s work uses silver mylar as both ground and surface: the film on which an image emerges. Urethane resin is cast around or poured on mylar, and its reflective coating inevitably captures the viewer’s body in space—implicating them as subject, and as editor. The unstable image, distorted and in flux due to the viewer’s shifting position and changing light, pulls it into abstract synthesis: a body plastiglomerate whose unsettled reflection engenders a liminal moment of appearance and disappearance, recognition and denial. This polyphony of outcomes renders Yamaoka’s paintings less static objects than networks of encounter, comprising the chains of happenstance linking casts and pours of resin with the meeting of viewer and object.
Rubbing mylar against common materials—bubble wrap, the studio walls and floor—mars its surface, recording scratches, smudges, and losses; often, the reflective coating rubs off completely, resulting in both transparency and erasure, mark-making through elision rather than accumulation, generating a haptic index of tactile experience. 20 by 16 (wall #2) (2017) bears a dense constellation of dots and bubbles from its contact with the wall and a scalloped crawl of resin resisting its own application. Pour/Peel (2005/2015) resonates with the mutable, unfixed quality of Yamaoka’s work: three sections of mylar ripped from their panel refute the confines of the rectangular picture plane; they float and ripple off of the wall, caught mid-gesture. Jagged edges give way to transparencies and blots and bubbles, showing residues of trauma and the object’s demise. Peeled diptych #2 (2019), a doubled mirror, opposes the viewer’s reflection on the left with swaths of tinted resin, peeled from the mylar panel at right. An action and its undoing comprise a tactile give-and-take. No one comes out of any encounter unscathed; both halves are imprinted with their history of intersection.
Ultimately, neither viewer nor viewing are as necessary to Yamaoka’s work as the space that this sequence of occurrences opens, allowing for what Roland Barthes described as “the possibility of the dialectics of desire, an unpredictability of bliss,” whereby the work “must seek out the reader—cruise [them]—without knowing where [they are].” It awaits and invites the gaze; never passive, it looks back.
Carrie Yamaoka (b. 1957, Glen Cove, NY; lives and works in New York, NY) received a BA at Wesleyan University in 1979 and attended the Tyler School of Art, Rome, Italy from 1977-78. Recent solo exhibitions were held at Ulterior Gallery, New York (2019); Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle (2019); and Lucien Terras, New York (2017). Yamaoka has been featured in group exhibitions at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Transmitter, New York (2019); Albertz Benda, New York (2019); PARTICIPANT INC, New York (2019); Kunstverein Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin (2019); Leslie-Lohman Museum, New York (2018, 2017); Fondation Ricard, Paris (2018); Galerie Crevecoeur, Marseille (2018); Center for Contemporary Art Futura, Prague (2016); and MoMA PS1, Queens (2015). She has received grants and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2019), Anonymous Was A Woman Foundation (2017), Rutgers Center for Innovative Printmaking (1990), and Art Matters (1988), and has participated in residencies at Painting Space 122, New York (2009); Fenenin El-Rahhal/Nomadic Artists Working Artists’ Summit, Egypt (2006); Braziers International Artists Workshop, Oxfordshire, UK (1998, 1995); and Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, New York (1986). She is a founding member of the queer art collective fierce pussy. Yamaoka’s work was featured in arms ache avid aeon: Nancy Brooks Brody / Joy Episalla / Zoe Leonard / Carrie Yamaoka: fierce pussy amplified, Chapters 1- 4 at Beeler Gallery, Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio and Chapter 5 at Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, PA. A new chapter of the ongoing project is slated to open in February 2022 at Palais de Tokyo, Paris.