Mayuka Yamamoto

 Mayuka Yamamoto is a Japanese artist known for her works depicting children sporting animal features and enigmatic expressions. Born in 1964 in Okayama, Japan, Yamamoto received her master degree at Masashino Art University in Tokyo in 1990, and joined the Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artist to continue her studies in London until 1999.

One of Japan’s Leading Second-Generation Painters

Emerging from the wake of Japan’s first generation of artists, including the likes of Murakami Takashi and Nara Yoshimoto, Mayuka Yamamoto has been revealed as one of Japan’s leading second-generation painters. Her early works were mostly etching after studying print and oil painting at Masashino Art University, but she started showing more paintings since she moved to London and was influenced by Marlene Dumas and Gilbert & George. Later, Yamamoto has shown new style of painting which suggests a question for wound and raw fear in childhood of warm and lovely boy standing in a soft but ambiguous background.

A Boy in Animal Suit

In 2002, at the time of the birth of her child, she thought about her childhood and started depicting fear and hurt with unknown reasons. A result of her idea from such physical and psychological change becomes a boy in animal suit. Whether he wears a penguin suit or deer’s horn, his facial expression remains calm and subtle, from which it is hard for audience to perceive his true emotions.
Yamamoto explores the ideas of natural instinct, parenthood and childhood. Her work combines artificial portraits of children with animal characteristics, which, despite their figurative and realistic characteristics, have an alienating and absurd effect.

She currently lives and works in Gunma, Japan


Jasmine Lark 2014