SHINJI TURNER-YAMAMOTO: GLOBAL TREE PROJECT PUBLISHED BY DAMIANI
Crumbling brick, fading gold leaf and a skeletal ceiling conspire to give the Holy Cross Church, in the Mount Adams section of Cincinnati, the appearance of a sacred ruin. In 2010, the Japanese artist Shinji Turner-Yamamoto exploited the atmosphere of otherworldly decay in this deconsecrated chapel with a site-specific installation, “Hanging Garden.” He suspended two giant birch trees — one alive and green, the other dessicated and snow white — atop one another in the church’s nave. One local critic called it the best public art project he’d seen in the city in years. [...]
Through his lens, in his words artist Shinji Turner-Yamamoto divines nature's language in his Global Tree Project.
The most profound and beautiful art installation of recent years in Cincinnati—an inspiration for what public art here can be—was Shinji Turner-Yamamoto’s 2010 “Hanging Garden.” [...] The work that went into the project made the result seem miraculous, an effect strengthened by the location. As one pondered it—and “Hanging Garden” encouraged the kind of devoted attention that a James Turrell light projection elicits—one also thought about more: the interconnectedness of life; the way nature can resurrect and inject meaning into dead architecture.
Global Tree Project | Book Signing | January 14, 2013 | Monday 7:00pm
Washington, DC—Shinji Turner-Yamamoto: Global Tree Project (Damiani, Italy) releases September 2012. Based in Cincinnati, OH and Washington, DC, and born in Osaka, Japan, Turner-Yamamoto’s site-specific installations worldwide include Ireland, Finland, Italy, Japan, India, Mongolia, and the USA. From a ruined folly on a cliff overlooking the Celtic Sea, to the Sutra Hall of the 8th century Kiyomizu Temple, the Mongolian Gobi Desert, and, recently the abandoned 19th century Holy Cross Church in Cincinnati, his Global Tree Project is an international art initiative that seeks to open and affirm connections between audiences and the natural world. The 11 installations documented in this monograph took place in venues from New Delhi to the American Midwest. Turner-Yamamoto’s works with identifiable imagery to encourage humanity to encounter aspects of nature in new and unexpected ways, and therein to discover commonality and connection. He is committed to using historic and natural elements in his work as meditations on the environment. The projects explore a poetic reunion with nature, making visible bonds and similarities between plant life and humanity, emphasizing ecological wisdom and the interconnectedness of all life. They illuminate our mutual destiny and the precarious beauty of this relationship.
“Turner-Yamamoto’s installations work extremely well with the site and connect interestingly with the history of art that deals with sculpture and social utopia,” says Nuit Banai, art historian and critic, Department of Visual and Critical Studies at Tufts University / School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and juror for the 2011 ArtPrize International Award. “They explore what sculpture can suggest, or what roles sculpture can play in offering new models of life and interaction with spaces."
Turner-Yamamoto studied at Kyoto City University of Arts, and, sponsored by the Italian government, at Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna, where he lived for 11 years. RECENT PROJECTS include: MONGOLIA 360°: International Land Art Biennial; HANGING GARDEN, Holy Cross Church; DISAPPEARANCES, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH. SITE-SPECIFIC INSTALLATIONS include: Kiyomizu Temple Sutra Hall, Saigyo-an Teahouse, Kyoto, Japan; Sanskriti Foundation, New Delhi, India; Roches Tower, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland; Palazzo Ducale, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genoa, Italy; Stazione Leopolda, Florence, Italy; Les Subsistances, Lyon, France; Ippaku-tei Teahouse, Embassy of Japan, Washington, DC. His work has been featured in such publications as The Washington Post, La Repubblica, Orientations Magazine, My Green City (Gestalten 2011), CSPA - The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, DIAOSU - National Sculpture Magazine of China. PRIZES include: 2011 ArtPrize International Juried Award; 2011 Gold Leaf Award, International Society of Arborioculture; 2003 UNESCO-ASCHBERG Bursaries for Artists; 2000 Pépinières Européennes pour Jeunes Artistes; first prize, 2000 Targetti Light Art Collection.
Shinji Turner-Yamamoto: Global Tree Project
Distributed by D.A.P.
Cincinnati, OH—November 9 through December 14 Phyllis Weston Gallery features DE RERUM NATURA: On The Nature Of Things, a solo exhibition of paintings from Washington, DC and Cincinnati-based Shinji Turner-Yamamoto, whose work melds ancient Japanese tradition and contemporary culture. A reception for the artist is scheduled Friday, 16 November, 5 pm to 8 pm. "Turner-Yamamoto's paintings provide audiences with an opportunity to experience the artist's ongoing interest in natural phenomena and his search for its essence," says Weston.
The artist titled his ongoing body of paintings after DE RERUM NATURA: On The Nature Of Things, the book by Lucretius, first century B.C. Roman poet/philosopher. “Nothing can ever be created out of nothing, even by divine power," Lucretius wrote. "Visible objects therefore do not perish utterly, since nature repairs one thing from another and allows nothing to be born without the aid of another’s death.”
A waterfall, a rainbow, a fallen tree, a constellation of stars, a stone, a crystal, clay—whether virtual or physical—these materials’ provenance is essential to convey to viewers that perfect crystallized moment of stillness; and the profound depth of particularity presented by the elusive power of being totally present in nature that Turner-Yamamoto discovers in throughout the world. “These gifts received in the remote are the essential force in my artistic practice,” says the artist. “Like sedimentary rocks, my work is created with layer on layer of memory and emotion. And like metamorphic rock, each work is morphed or altered by new connections between each stratum. This visual record of my engagement with the landscape opens an intimate connection between audiences and nature.”
Turner-Yamamoto created many of the featured works during fall and winter artist residencies on the wild coast of southwest Ireland. There, in collaboration with the pervasive rain and wind, he created "rain drawings" en plein air. Shafts of light and ephemeral rainbows-- elements of the Irish landscape—inspired the artist to concentrate on light and its natural permutations as the principal subject of these works.
Focused on nature and the environment, Turner-Yamamoto's work presents an interplay between absence and presence that emanates a strong quiet spiritual energy. Using ash and soot, expressive of both endings and beginnings, he poetically connects death and rebirth, the conjunction where the mystery of life lies. In the artist's favorite Japanese fairy tale, Hanasaka Jiisan, ashes sprinkled onto withered cherry trees generate rebirth. In Ireland, ash and soot from the turf burned in his fireplace, coupled with Indian yellow, gambouge, sheep's wool, crystals, silver and slate powders, and tree resin presented the ideal pigments to express these natural manifestations and his emotional reactions to specific events in the landscape. Moonbow, a work recorded in the artist's field journal, makes us witness to a galactic event far beyond the painting's diminutive scale. The shadowy form of a rainbow emerges from the voided black depths of a night sky lit by a small constellation of silver stars. Colors laid down wet on the black ground coalesce in a field of violet, orange, and indigo with the power of an exploding star. In "Rainbow," Turner-Yamamoto layers a rain drawing executed on archival acetate with ash over a drawing of a rainbow. The pairing of earth and light captures the short-lived nature of Ireland's constantly shifting skies. In "Light," a rain drawing overlaid with soot and Indian yellow, Turner-Yamamoto evokes the momentary break of a ray of sun through moving storm clouds.
Sleeping Vishnu Tree, grew out of his experience of seeing an uprooted giant oak. "I wanted the tree to lie and sleep," recalls Turner-Yamamoto, "envisioning a new world like the dream of the world that emerges from the Indian god Vishnu's navel in the form of a lotus flower.” Working with henna, he drew a supine tree that floats in a sea of gold leaf applied using Byzantine techniques. This universe of small gold convex reflective surfaces surrounds the tree, recalling those seen in Byzantine-Russian icons, and emanates the light of Vishnu's dream. Washington Post art critic Michael O’Sullivan writes, “Working in media that include milk, rainwater, beeswax, tree resin, and animal glue further roots the artist's poetic work in the here and now, his work has both a specificity and universality. In other words, it transcends itself." Born in Osaka, Japan, Turner-Yamamoto studied at Kyoto City University of Arts, and, sponsored by the Italian government, at Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna, where he lived for eleven years. His site-specific installations worldwide include Ireland, Finland, Italy, Japan, India, Mongolia, and the USA. His Global Tree Project—globaltreeproject.org—is an international art initiative that seeks to open and affirm connections between audiences and the natural world. He works with identifiable imagery to encourage humanity to encounter aspects of nature in new and unexpected ways and is committed to using historic and natural elements in his work as meditations on the environment.
Current/Future projects include; Lightning, a project with lightning struck trees - supporter/collaborator to date: Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. September 2012 installation in abandoned Grand Rapids Public Museum for SiTE:LAB; Fall 2013, site-specific installation for Sound Of Time, curated by: Bai Xi/R A Suri, Xi'an Museum of Contemporary Art, China. Site-specific installations include MONGOLIA 360°: International Land Art Biennial; HANGING GARDEN, Holy Cross Church; DISAPPEARANCES, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH; Kiyomizu Temple Sutra Hall, Saigyo-an Teahouse, Kyoto, Japan; Sanskriti Foundation, New Delhi, India; Roches Tower, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland; Palazzo Ducale, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genoa, Italy; Les Subsistances, Lyon, France; Ippaku-tei Teahouse, Embassy of Japan, Washington, DC. His work has been featured in The New York Times T Magazine, The Washington Post, La Repubblica, Orientations Magazine, My Green City (Gestalten 2011), CSPA - The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, DIAOSU - National Sculpture Magazine of China. Prizes include 2011 ArtPrize International Juried Award; 2011 Gold Leaf Award, International Society of Arborioculture; 2003 UNESCO-ASCHBERG Bursaries for Artists; 2000 Pépinières Européennes pour Jeunes Artistes; first prize, 2000 Targetti Light Art Collection, and Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc..