Carrie Yamaoka and Jonah Groeneboer in Conversation
This is a recording of a Zoom discussion that took place on November 21, 2020. A transcription of the video is available at the link above.
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.
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.
Jonah Groeneboer (b. 1978) is a New York-based interdisciplinary transgender artist working in abstraction to address the politics of representation. He developed this strategy to examine the expectation that the transgendered body be readily available for visual scrutiny. The work offers a slowed-down experience where minute shifts over time replace binary understandings. He creates aesthetically paired down forms that respond to or are dependent on the architecture and light conditions of the exhibition space, implicating the position of viewership and the environment. Forces such as tension, gravity, light and sound are both structural and material in his work. Groeneboer’s sculptures and diptychs are often described as unphotographable. These materially spare works are used by Groeneboer to question visual perception’s capacity to produce complete comprehension. The impossibility of seeing in totality is an integral concept in his work, providing a counterpoint to Minimalism by its insistence on a political position within these contingencies.
His work has shown at David Zwirner (2018), Boston University Galleries (2017), MoMA (2016), Art in General (2016), the Queens Museum (2016), CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art (2016), MoMA PS1(2015), Contemporary Art Museum Houston (2015), Platform Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts in Winnipeg(2015), Andrew Edlin Gallery, NY (2013), Shoshawna Wayne Gallery, CA (2010), and Exile, Berlin(2010) Among others. Essays and Reviews on his work have appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Art 21.com, Mute Magazine, Artforum.com Temporary Art Review, Art Journal, and in Pink Labour on Golden Streets “Appearing Differently: Abstraction’s Transgender and Queer Capacities.” Residencies include Ox-Bow School of Art, the Fire Island Artist Residency, and Recess. He has received travel (2018) and project grants (2019) from Canada Council for the Arts.
As a writer, he has participated on panels and in symposiums at the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art in conjunction with Zoe Leonard’s Survey, and the Beeler Gallery for Arms Ache Avid Aeon: Fierce Pussy Amplified and is a contributing critic for Artforum.com. He currently teaches in the MFA program in the School of Art, Media, and Technology at the New School.