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John-Paul Stonard

(b London, Sept 2, 1964).

English sculptor and installation artist. She completed a BFA at Birmingham Polytechnic (1984–7), and an MFA at the Royal College of Art, London (1987–90). Replicating everyday objects on an unexpected scale, she chooses things so familiar they would not normally be noticed; this heightens the unsettling quality of their painstaking distortion when we become aware of it, often after a lapse of time. Early works include dust-jackets of books, photocopied in colour with objects superimposed on to them. Wright subsequently developed this strategy based on the principles of photocopying, performing a pre-programmed operation on mass-produced objects. For an installation at The Showroom Gallery in East London (1996), Wright created a partial replica of a bungalow, actual size; in this case the subject is estranged not through actual distortion but through the fact of being seen indoors and fragmented. As with much of her work, the viewer is forced to examine something that is usually overlooked. Underlying much of Wright’s art are subtle social critiques; in this case she referred to compulsory relocation plans for East Londoners in the early 1940s. ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b London, June 26, 1960).

English painter and installation artist active in Glasgow and Los Angeles. He studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art between 1978 and 1982, graduating with a BA. After distancing himself from art during the 1980s, Wright became more engaged with conceptual frameworks for making art after studying for an MFA at Glasgow School of Art between 1993 and 1995. During this time he began to explore the relationship between architecture, art and design, painting directly onto walls to create ephemeral works intended to last only for the duration of the exhibition. In early wall paintings such as Untitled (exh. Glasgow, Intermedia Gal., 1993), the motifs used are quite simple, with interlocking strips of colour painted in a band around the gallery walls. Wright’s paintings of the mid-1990s included motifs that appeared to be drawn from corporate logos and tattoos, with the inclusion of stylized skulls and gothic symbols. In the installation ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Llanelli, Dyfed, March 24, 1958).

Welsh sculptor and film maker. He completed a foundation course at Dyfed College of Art (1976–7), a BFA at St Martin’s School of Art, London (1977–80), and an MA in Film and Television at the Royal College of Art, London (1981–4). On graduating from the Royal College of Art, he worked as an assistant to Derek Jarman, at the same time making a number of short experimental films. Although he moved to sculpture and installation in the early 1990s, the influence of film remained strong on his work. Movement was central to a wall-hung work made in an edition of three, Inverse, Reverse, Perverse (surface-mirrored acrylic, diam. 1.73 m, 1996; London, Saatchi Gal.), a large concave mirror that variously distorts the viewer’s body. In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni (we go round and round in the night and are consumed by fire) (neon, diam. 1.40 m, ...

Article

Ah Xian  

Claire Roberts

[Liu Jixian]

(b Beijing, May 7, 1960).

Chinese multimedia artist, active also in Australia. Ah Xian is a self-taught artist. He grew up during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) and spent his early years in the relatively privileged environment of Beijing’s Science and Engineering University, where his parents worked. He trained as a mechanical fitter and worked in a factory, pursuing art on his own time. In the late 1970s he began to associate with avant-garde poets, writers and artists including members of The Stars, a non-official art group demanding freedom of artistic expression. Because his experimental works of art incorporating naked figures were considered at the time to be spiritually polluting, he was subject to routine surveillance by the Public Security Bureau.

Ah Xian first travelled to Australia in 1989 as a visiting artist at the Tasmanian School of Art. He returned the following year, after the Tiananmen massacre (4 June 1989), and in ...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Jincheng, Liaoning Province, Nov 17, 1963).

Chinese painter. In 1988 he graduated from the Oil Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. He returned as a graduate student (1995–6) and remained as a professor. Like others who studied oil painting in China in the 1980s, he received a thorough training in realism. For decades leading up to the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, the government had promoted Socialist Realism as one of the few artistic styles permissible, and after 1976 realism continued to be the officially sanctioned mode of oil painting. Many young artists rebelled against such constraints and abandoned realism for abstraction or conceptual art. Others such as Liu found ways to adapt their training to a personal style capable of expressing a personal point of view. At the end of the 1980s, Liu was hailed as the central figure in the ‘New Generation’ group of figurative painters....

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, Aug 21, 1963).

Chinese installation artist . Yin studied painting in the Fine Arts Department of Capital Normal University, Beijing (1985–9) and following graduation she taught at the high school attached to the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, until her exhibition schedule grew too demanding. In 1989 she was first exposed to installation art; she showed her first installation, Door, in the studio of artist Zhu Jinshi (b 1954) in 1994. Yin’s works have consistently demonstrated a concern for the relationship between the individual and the environment, with a particular interest in her native city of Beijing. She has developed a vocabulary of signature materials—primarily used clothing, cement and discarded building materials—all of which she deployed to underscore the impermanence and fragility of the human environment.

At a time when little attention was paid to environmental degradation in China, Yin created Washing the River (1995), constructing a wall from frozen blocks of polluted Funan River water and inviting passers-by to scrub the wall clean. While the natural environment suffered as China’s economy surged, so too did the urban environment. In the 1990s China’s major cities changed dramatically, with old neighbourhoods razed to clear the way for skyscrapers. Observing the demolition of a way of life, Yin created ...

Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b Honolulu, HI, Oct 3, 1961).

American installation artist of Japanese ancestry. Yamamoto’s works have evoked an emotional memory that speaks to a larger social and historical context. Her delicate and labor-intensive installations have often served as visual metaphors for the forgotten lives of Japanese and Japanese Americans, many of whom were profoundly affected by the Pacific war.

Yamamoto received her BA in art from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington in 1983 and M.A. in studio art from New York University in 1991. She also participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and Skowhegan. From 1990 to 2003 she worked as an artist educator in museums, public schools and colleges in New York, and participated in many national and international artist-in-residence programs. From 2003 Yamamoto taught at Smith College in Northampton, MA.

Yamamoto’s early sculptural works memorialized her grandmother, Chiyo, who came to Hawaii in the early 20th century as a picture bride. She was a laundress on a sugar plantation and committed suicide at the age of 49 in ...

Article

Hiroshi Watanabe

(b Beijing, April 15, 1945).

Japanese architect . He graduated from Nihon University, Tokyo, in 1968, received an MA from Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music in 1971 and was a research student under Hiroshi Hara at the University of Tokyo from 1971 to 1973. He opened his own office, Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop, in 1973 in Tokyo. Yamamoto joined Hara in the latter’s field surveys of villages in various countries and this experience may account for his design approach, which might be best described as ‘topological’. His works, which are primarily residential, are not notable for any stylistic consistency, yet they all demonstrate a concern for the way spatial arrangements symbolize family relationships, and Yamamoto used unconventional means to delineate different functional areas such as public and private. The modern Japanese city is seen as an increasingly hostile environment, and Yamamoto’s urban houses depend on internal courtyards and rooftop terraces for breathing space. Examples of his work include the Yamamoto house (...

Article

Pamela Roskin

(b Yokohama, Oct 3, 1943).

Japanese fashion designer ( see fig. ). Yamamoto’s influential designs combined traditional Japanese silhouettes with notions of architectural forms and impeccable tailoring. The collections from the designer’s early years were often in dark, muted colours and featured unstructured oversized layers that evoked the uncut philosophy of the Japanese kimono. Later in his career, he incorporated splashes of bright colour into his pieces.

Yamamoto’s father, a soldier, died in World War II. His mother was a seamstress. Yamamoto received a degree in law in 1966 before graduating in 1969 from the Bunkafukuso Gakuin, a prestigious Tokyo fashion school. That same year he won two fashion design awards, the So-en and Endo. He then lived in Paris for two years where he became familiar with European ideals in fashion. The juxtaposition of high style amidst the French student riots, anti-war protests and the women’s rights movement had a profound effect on his work. In an interview with ...

Article

Reiko Tomii

(b Kobe, Jan 3, 1967).

Japanese photographer and video artist ( see fig. ). She received degrees in crafts (1989) and art (1991) at Kyoto City University of Arts. During her studies, she created installations with accumulative fibre elements. When she photographed them for documentation, she came to recognize the power of photography. In 1993 she presented a performance work The White Casket , at Art Space Niji, Kyoto. Making a complete departure from her fibre works, she began a Photoshop-manipulated photographic series, Elevator Girls, in 1994. The project lasted for the next seven years, and depicted a group of primly uniformed elevator girls, all looking alike and mysteriously assembled in an elevator and other commercial, urban architectural settings. Frozen in passive or inactive postures, they represent the depersonalized, claustrophobic existence of Japanese women (and women in general), who live in an artificial consumer culture and a patriarchal Japanese society.

In 2000...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Fukuoka, 1959).

Japanese sculptor. He studied at Musashino Art University, Tokyo, and completed a fellowship in sculpture at Yale University, New Haven, CT, in 1990. Initially Yanagi was influenced by the Minimalist and Conceptualist orientation of the Japanese Monoha movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s; soon after he became known for a series of performances using coloured gas. He rose to international prominence in the 1990s following the success of a number of seminal installations that employed ants as metaphors for global migration. In the Wandering Position series (begun in 1989) Yanagi used chalk to trace out the path of an ant as it moved about a circumscribed area. The World Flag Ant Farm (1990; first exh. Venice Biennale, 1993; see 1996 exh. cat., p. 37) elaborated on his ideas through an installation that comprised a complex of wall-mounted plexiglass boxes filled with coloured sand depicting a number of national flags. He added ants to the boxes, allowing them to crawl around and move the sand from one box to another via transparent tubes, thus progressively destroying the integrity of the flags. Yanagi’s interest in the nation state developed throughout the 1990s to encompass other themes, including ideology, nationalism and the construction of cultural difference. In ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b London, May 12, 1963).

English photographer. She studied in London at the Slade School of Fine Art (1982–6) and at Goldsmiths’ College (1988–90), graduating with an MFA. In her early photographs she turned the camera on the institutions that support the visual arts, making portraits of the people who commissioned or curated her work in the period from 1984 to 1995. One such work, Portrait: Selection Committee for the Arts Council of England (1995; London, AC England Col.), was acquired by the very people represented in it. Her colour images are given a strong presence as a result of being mounted on light boxes; the use of solarization around the figures’ heads, like auras, further enhances their luminosity. In a project for Springfield Hospital, London, Yass took portraits of the clients and carers as well as shots of the empty interiors, all of which were displayed in the hospital in ...

Article

Botond Bognar

(b Yamagata, Aug 10, 1948).

Japanese architect and critic. He was educated at the University of Tokyo, studying under Kenzō Tange and Sachio Ōtani. After graduating in 1975, he worked for Arata Isozaki from 1978 to 1983 and then established his own office in Tokyo (1984). At first he was both a designer and an architectural critic, contributing to numerous national and international journals and publications. In his architecture Yatsuka aims at an acceleration of modernism that is not only sharply critical of the reactionary, classicist and other historicist tendencies in international Post-modernism but also challenges modernist ideology and dogma. His ‘deconstructionist’ designs, loose assemblies of individual parts, which are influenced by contemporary French philosophy, occupy a position between Structuralism and Post-structuralism; they show affinity with the works of Rem Koolhaas (b 1944), Bernard Tschumi and Zaha Hadid (b 1950). His few completed projects include the acclaimed Angelo Tarlazzi Building (...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

[ Jimmy Toddy ]

(b Wide Ruins, AZ, 1928).

American painter. Bill Lippencott, owner of the Wide Ruins Trading Post, gave Yazz paints and paper, encouraging him to paint at the age of seven. Lippencott and wife Sallie recognized Yazz’s artistic talent and advised him to pursue art seriously. At the age of ten, his work was exhibited by a museum in Springfield, IL. Completing his education at Sherman Indian School, CA, he established himself as an artist with a long national career.

Yazz enlisted in the Marines during World War II as a Navajo Code Talker. After the war, he studied art at Mills College in Oakland, CA, working under Yasuo Kuniyoshi . Returning to the Navajo reservation near Wide Ruins, he earnestly began his artistic painting career.

Painting subjects familiar from his daily reservation life, Yazz specialized in typical daily and ceremonial scenes. His paintings utilize flat minimal backgrounds and suspend his subjects in a floating and entertaining world. The paintings record the natural movement of light and air with powerful drama....

Article

Joan Kee

[Bahc Mo; Bahc Chulho]

(b Busan, June 23, 1957; d Seoul, April 26, 2004).

Korean artist and art critic. Bahc Chulho spent his childhood in Busan, then moved to Seoul, where he studied painting at Hongik University from 1976 to 1980. In 1982 he moved to New York to continue his painting studies at the Pratt Institute. After his graduation in 1985, he remained in New York, working under the name Bahc Mo, or literally in Korean, ‘Anonymous Bahc’. He founded and operated Minor Injury (1985–9) in Brooklyn, a non-profit alternative space focusing on concerns of minorities and the third world. He was also an active member of SEORO, a networking group for Korean-American artists, and as part of that group he helped to organize the first large-scale exhibition of Korean and Korean-American contemporary art in the USA, Across the Pacific: Contemporary Korean and Korean American Art (New York, Queens Mus. A., 1993).

Bahc wrote extensively as an American-based correspondent for major Korean art magazines from ...

Article

Melissa Chiu

(b Xiamen, Feb 19, 1954).

Chinese installation artist, active also in France. Huang Yongping studied at the Zhejiang Fine Arts Academy (now the National Art Academy) in Hangzhou. After graduating in 1982, he became involved in Xiamen Dada, a group of artists famous for having burned their paintings after an exhibition in 1986. This performance event and the group’s other activities were part of a broader national trend—known as the 1985 New Wave Movement—when a younger generation of artists began to experiment with all manner of styles and influences from outside China.

One of Huang’s most important works created during this period included references to Chinese and Western art history. Entitled ‘A History of Chinese Painting’ and ‘A Concise History of Modern Painting’ Washed in a Washing Machine for Two Minutes (1987), the work comprised two art history books (Herbert Read’s Concise History of Modern Painting and Wang Bomin’s History of Chinese Painting...

Article

Julia Robinson

(b Bern, ID, Oct 13, 1935).

American composer. Young was an exponent of experimental “drone” music and an originator of Minimalism (whose diverse practitioners include Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Philip Glass). Educated at the University of California, Los Angeles (1957–8), he completed his graduate studies in composition at the University of California, Berkeley. An avid and talented jazz musician, Young performed with legendary figures Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. In 1959, he attended Summer Courses at Darmstadt, the center of New Music, taking advanced composition with Karlheinz Stockhausen. There he discovered the work of John Cage and met Cage’s great interpreter David Tudor, who put Young in contact with Cage. Back in California, Young presented Cage’s work, adopting some of his radical strategies in his own music. A landmark Young composition of this period is Poem for Tables, Chairs, Benches, etc. (1960), a piece of indeterminate duration.

In 1960 Young moved to New York and galvanized a receptive circle of Cage-inspired artists and composers. Young’s most significant contribution to this milieu were his ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Philadelphia, May 16, 1962).

American painter. She studied at Tyler School of Arts, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, where she was awarded her BFA in 1984, and completed her MFA in 1996 at Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT. Her paintings address the female body and notions of internalized misogyny, both in the artist and the viewer. Her Bad Baby I (1991; see A. America, lxxxi, June 1993, p. 103) shows a depersonalised and sexualised child figure, painted in hot lollipop colours. Making a link between the visual pleasures of modernist aesthetics and the scopophilic instincts of pornography, Yuskavage’s paintings present figures undergoing a form of violation (cultural as well as sexual and visual) in front of an implicated viewer. She often uses misogonystic forms well-worn through their cultural usage to show the objectification within the familiar, as in Blond, Brunette and Redhead (1995; see R. Brooks article). Using exaggerated naked figures with gigantic breasts and buttocks, they offer no resistance to visual mastery by the viewer, but actively encourage it. This over-visibility is taken to a monstrous height in ...

Article

Blair French

(b Sydney, May 14, 1957).

Australian photographer. Zahalka was awarded an MFA in 1994 and was recipient of the 2005 Leopold Godowsky, Jr. Color Photography Award at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston, MA. Since the 1980s her work has explored various forms of photographic portraiture, photomontage as well as manifesting a constant interest in the representation of place and its importance in the formation of individual and cultural identity. Zahalka has frequently referred to well-known historical photographs and representations in order to both draw on and question the cultural, gendered or institutional basis of their authority. Her work conveys an acute self-awareness of its own historical precedents. However it equally draws upon photography’s traditional association with visual veracity, exemplifying the complexity of photography as both aesthetic construction and medium of record.

The daughter of Czech and Austrian refugees, Zahalka’s early series, such as The Tourist as Theorist: (Theory Takes a Holiday) (1985), ...

Article

Margaret Graves

(b. Ventura, California, 1942).

American calligrapher. Having converted to Islam in the 1960s while still a teenager, he studied Islamic calligraphy, training with A. S. Ali Nour in Tangier, Morocco, and later studying at the British Museum in London. In the 1980s he felt his work had reached a plateau and decided to re-learn the art of calligraphy in the Ottoman style. Hence in 1984 he went to Istanbul to train with the Turkish calligraphers Hasan Çelebi and Ali Alparslan at the Research Center for Islamic History, Art, and Culture (IRCICA), where he was tutored in thuluth, naskh and nasta‛līq scripts. In 1997 he became the first American to receive an icazet or diploma from IRCICA for his abilities as a calligrapher. His calligraphic works are executed within meticulously observed traditional modes, reflected also in his insistence on making his own reed and bamboo pens. His works typically reflect the traditions of the Ottoman masters of the 19th century, with illuminations in the Turkish Baroque style. A pioneer in the field of Islamic calligraphy in the USA, his works have been exhibited widely in the USA and the Middle East. He has also revived the ancient art of making astrolabes, and examples of this aspect of his work are held in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the USA. Based for many years in Arlington, Virginia, in ...