Carrie Yamaoka: seeing is forgetting and remembering and forgetting again

Monday, January 30 – Sunday, March 5, 2023

Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Main Gallery
283 Washington Terrace, Middletown, Connecticut

Tuesday through Sunday, Noon to 5pm
View the COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for the Center for the Arts.

View or download the exhibition handout.


Carrie Yamaoka: seeing is forgetting and remembering and forgetting again


Carrie Yamaoka’s solo exhibition in the Main Gallery of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, seeing is forgetting and remembering and forgetting again, presents a body of work at the intersection of drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture that references the effects of memory on visuality. This presentation marks the artist’s return to a gallery space in which she exhibited her senior thesis project in 1979, shortly after the gallery had opened in its present space. In a series of site visits over the summer of 2022, Yamaoka made rubbings of the gallery walls onto mylar and photographed in the gallery. Slides of these images will be presented with an analog slide projector projected onto mylar, one element of a larger installation work. The rubbings of the gallery developed into wall based-works in the artist’s studio, recording the history of invisible mark making on the gallery walls. Also included in the exhibition are reconfigurations of previous works by the artist. In recent years Yamaoka has been revisiting works, actively altering their state by separating surfaces from their substrates and recomposing the components to create new works that retain traces of their history.

The material presence of Yamaoka’s work combines different media through non-traditional processes, often alluding to, or even using aspects of, photography. Images produced through the work are often only activated through the act of display and the reflection of the exhibition space and its viewers. Rather than alluding to photography’s association with the record, Yamaoka often reduces the record of information in the image through suspension in other materials, rubbing, or chemical transformation. These erasures create, or remember, new ways of being in time. The surfaces of her works, sometimes abraded, sometimes suspended in resin, or both, slow down the re-production of an image enough to allow an opening for memory, for forgetting and remembering.

Carrie Yamaoka ’79 is a New York-based visual artist whose work traverses the disciplines of painting, photography, and sculpture. She is interested in the topography of surfaces, materiality, and process, the tactility of the barely visible, and the chain of planned and chance incidents that determine the outcome of the object. Her work engages the viewer at the intersection between records of chemical action/reaction and the desire to apprehend a picture emerging in fleeting and unstable states of transformation. Exhibitions include the Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia), MoMA/PS1 (New York), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Fondation Ricard (Paris), the Henry Art Gallery (Seattle), Artists Space (New York), the Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus), Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (New York), Victoria and Albert Museum (London), and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Writing about her work has appeared in The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, The New Yorker, Time Out New York, Hyperallergic, Interview, and Bomb. Her work is included in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, Dallas Museum of Art, Henry Art Gallery, and Centre Pompidou. She is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and an Anonymous Was A Woman award. Yamaoka is represented by Commonwealth and Council (Los Angeles). She is a founding member of the queer art collective fierce pussy.

Image (detail): Carrie Yamaoka, 40 by 40 (wall), 2022. Photography by the artist. Courtesy of the artist.

Read "Open-Ended Questions: New Exhibit at the Zilkha Gallery" in The Wesleyan Connection.


Related Events

Opening Reception: Carrie Yamaoka—seeing is forgetting, and remembering, and forgetting, again
Monday, January 30, 2023 at 4:30pm

Artist Conversation: Carrie Yamaoka and Claire Grace
Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 4:30pm