Mari Yamagiwa - Japan


Mari Yamagiwa’s art is enigmatic. 

You get drawn in by the eyes.  The eyes of Yamagiwa’s alter egos.  They are kind, calm eyes that do not judge.  How you see the rest of the works is entirely up to you; your own beliefs, experiences, opinions and dreams.

Her alter egos exist in unique, extraordinary, imaginative worlds.  Her multi-media works appear chaotically busy but fit and function as well as any overpopulated metropolis.   Using a detritus of curio from around the world, she builds a universe that crosses different cultures and eras.  She enjoys the “accidental chemical reactions around inorganic aggregate” that make up these works.  The result should be confusion and anarchy, but somehow it coalesces into an eloquent vista.  She says that it is ‘similar to our lives because we always select something in chaos.” 

Yamagiwa’s oils on the other hand are clear and minimalist in comparison to her mixed media work, but explode with vibrant colors.  They may appear kitsch at first glance, but immediately thereafter the complexity of the dialogue becomes apparent.  These are no pre-pubescent naïve waifs.   They all have deep, complex, dark stories to tell. 

If you are prepared to take the time, you will see that Yamagiwa’s honesty is apparent.  She bares her soul.  As a child she was repeatedly hospitalized.  Her mother made large dolls for her to ward off the loneliness.  Yamagiwa created fantasy worlds to explore with her dolls.  As an adult she continued to travel through these worlds, but with more knowledge and experience.  She uses her experiences, full of pain, pleasure, sadness and poignant moments, and translates them into her works.  She even allows us to view her darker memories and thoughts buried deep within the privacy of the soul.  Bob Hogge of Monkdogz Urban Art said “her work rolls over you like a sudden, thunder and lightning storm, filled with primitive desire and beautiful, imagination-driven sexual imagery.”

She shares her inner most thoughts, including those darker thoughts, without ego or self-judgement.  By sharing her innermost thoughts with you the viewer, she hopes that you may explore your own deepest feelings, memories, thoughts and secrets with compassion.  What you see depends on how honest you can be.