Kumi Yamashita

Japan 1968



Kumi Yamashita
Kumi Yamashita
September 29, 2015

The concepts of light and dark occupy largely Kumi Yamashita so she transposes her expressions through series of peculiar multimedia works. The very concept the artist inscribes in the artworks rotates around contemplative method which is aimed at dealing with the personal and most intimate dialogs. In this particular case, it seems as if the dichotomy of light and dark should be seen as a metaphor for the real and inner communication. Therefore, the work of Yamashita reflects the artists need to articulate differently the language as a common communicational tool.

The project of Japanese artist was on view in her home gallery and is part of her portfolio
Kumi Yamashita – ABC & ?, 1997

Inclined With Arts

Born in 1968 in a town of Takasaki, Japan. She was raised in an artistic family – her mother studied fashion, and her father was a sculptor and a professor of industrial design. In such environment, Yamashita easily developed her love for art and started drawing and making things at an early age. Yamashita lived in Japan until her teenage years, when she decided to relocate to the United States as a high school exchange student. The artist received her Bachelor in Fine Arts at the Cornish College of the Arts in Washington and graduated with an MFA from Glasglow School of Art in the UK in 1999.

From silhouettes of people to shadows

The fragments of single constellation are closer the policy of traditional art were published in press
Kumi Yamashita – Sakura, 2007

The Peculiar Aesthetics of Light and Shadow

The unique site-specific light and shadow installations of Kumi Yamashita are usually made from ordinary, everyday objects – building blocks, thread, nails, paper cutouts, fabric, and wood, which she then manages to turn into sophisticated imagery. As a matter of fact, those works are composed out of strategically-placed light source along with a variety of perfectly placed objects to create incredible shadow silhouettes. The staggering effect is accentuated with casted shadows are cast upon the objects which are placed at certain distances from a single light source.

The specific approach to material in work of Kumi Yamashita

In 2016 Kumi Yamashita look for a new work in terms of privacy of her studio
Kumi Yamashita – Constellation, Mana, 2011 (Left) Warp Weft, Mother 2, 2013 (Right)

The Inspiration and Influences

The artist focuses mainly on the human figure. Kumi’s devoted attention to details make all the difference – she makes tiny cuts to paper and carefully drapes fabric, creating lively, fluid silhouettes. With a minimal amount of material, Yamashita manages to create a complex narrative with a range of emotions. Her works are not only related to the ancient tradition of Japan, yet they are often fulfilled with references from Western culture, like a portrait of Samuel Beckett – an Irish avant-garde novelist. So by combining various influences and inspirations, Yamashita is able to articulate her thoughts and express it the best through her works.

The intriguing interplay of shadows and light

The project was on view in her portfolio and for contact look home terms closer use item
Kumi Yamashita – City View, 2003

The Profound And Sensitive Works of Kumi Yamashita

Since the late ’90s, Yamashita’s work has been exhibited at numerous museum and galleries, spanning from Seattle Art Museum, over Hillside Gallery in Tokyo to the Kent Gallery in New York. She was also featured in a selection of important group shows and special projects including Figurative Association at the Arrowmont School of Arts, Tennessee and String Theory at the Scott White Contemporary Art Gallery in California. During her career, Kumi has been honored and critically-acclaimed many times. She is a recipient of several awards and grants including Beijing’s 2014 Crystal Kirin Award and The Pollock and Krasner Foundation, just to mention the few. The astonishing, yet unpretentious works Kumi Yamashita realizes are not only beautified objects but more importantly some form of specific portals open to the observer for contemplation, calmness and inner peace.

Kumi Yamashita lives and works in New York City.

Featured image: Portrait of Kumi Yamashita – image courtesy of the artist
All images used are for illustrative purposes only

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Kumi YamashitaArt Front Gallery, Tokyo, JapanSolo
2015Extreme Fibers: Textile Icons and the New EdgeMuskegon Museum of Art – Dennos Museum Center, Michigan, USAGroup
2015Origami HeavenWang Center, Stony Brook University, New York, USAGroup
2015Less = MoreHonolulu Museum of Art, Hawaii, USAGroup
2015Cosmos: Imagining the UniverseAnnmarie Sculpture Garden, Maryland, USAGroup
2014Figurative AssociationArrowmont School of Arts, Tennessee, USAGroup
2014Over the Edge: Paperworks UnboundWAH Center, New York City, USAGroup
2013Eros - 23rd Edition MiniartextilVilla Olmo, Como, ItalyGroup
2013String TheoryScott White Contemporary Art, California, USAGroup
2013Outwin Boochever ExhibitionNational Portrait Gallery, Washington DC, USAGroup
2013EncoreGrand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan, USAGroup
2012Math AliveInternational Gallery, Smithsonian, Washington DC, USAGroup
2012TransformationGrand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan, USAGroup
2010Kaohsiung Design FestivalTaiwanGroup
2010Look AgainSouthern Center for Contemporary Art, North Carolina, USAGroup
2010Smoke + Mirrors - Shadows + FogHunter College, Times Square Gallery, New York City, USAGroup
2009Echigo-Tsumari Art TriennialNiigata, JapanGroup
2009Woman ForwardWilliamsburg Art & Historical Center, New York City, USAGroup
2008Kumi YamashitaKent Gallery, New York City, USASolo
2007Roswell Artist in Residence Program 40th AnniversaryRoswell Museum and Art Center, New Mexico, USAGroup
2007Sculpture Alumni InvitationalCornish College of the Arts, Washington, USAGroup
2007ReversibleScottish Parliament, Edinburgh, UKGroup
2006Urban CosmologyKent Gallery, New York City, USAGroup
2005Sunny Days and Starry NightsEsplanade, SingaporeSolo
2005Wake of LightSendai Mediateque, Miyagi, JapanGroup
2005IimawashiMerz Gallery, Edinburgh, UKGroup
2005Nazo NazoHamada Children’s Museum of Art, Shimane, JapanGroup
2005Only Make-Believe: Ways of PlayingCompton Verney, Warwickshire, UKGroup
2005Yet Another RealityContemporary Art Gallery, University of Connecticut, USAGroup
2004Dis-tanceAomori International Art Center, Aomori, JapanGroup
2004Sfenks Seni Yiyip YutacakKarsi Sanat Çalismalari, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2003Global PriorityUniversity of Massachusetts at Amherst, USAGroup
2002Kumi YamashitaKathleen E. Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, USASolo
2002Kumi YamashitaGlass Gallery, University of Texas at El Paso, USASolo
2002Kumi YamashitaHillside Gallery, Tokyo, JapanSolo
2002Kumi YamashitaKent Gallery, New York City, USASolo
2002Kumi YamashitaRoswell Museum and Art Center, New Mexico, USASolo
2002Super Figurative ApproximationsBehnke Gallery, Cornish College of the Arts, WashingtonGroup
2002ContainmentLlanternam Grange Art Centre, Wales, UKGroup
2002Shadow PlayRoger Smith Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2001Sculpture: Figure in MotionKent Gallery, New York City, USAGroup
2001ObsessionUniversity Art Gallery, University of California, San Diego, USAGroup
2000Kirin Art Award ExhibitionTokyo – Osaka, JapanGroup
1999Kumi YamashitaYerba Buena Center, California, USASolo
1999TraceLiverpool Biennale, Liverpool, UKGroup
1998Kumi YamashitaSalt Lake Art Center, Utah, USASolo
1998Kumi YamashitaBoise Art Museum, Idaho, USASolo
1997Kumi YamashitaSeattle Art Museum, Washington, USASolo