Artist: Joyce Yamada
I always work with imagery, in paintings or installations. As a teen I tried to write poetry, but images were what I was (futilely) chasing; I soon discovered that I am a painter. It has been a many year adventure, learning to think in paint, learning to turn ghost images in the mind into physical art objects.
Science amuses and inspires me; by some mysterious alchemy, what I read turns into cinematic scenes of a parallel universe, alternately comic, beautiful, puzzling. Deep time, evolutionary biology, and ecology have inspired me for years. Neuroscience and human origins are current interests. Everything actually is fodder for art, but for larger paintings, I like the structure of an implied story, a scene with something open-ended or off-key, something viewers can imagine their way into to make up their own narratives.
My current iconic painting is Jellyfish Invasion. It looks like a killing field, but it really refers to paleontology, to our long complex ancestry. It features fins and hand bones, a reference to a favorite book “Your Inner Fish” by Neil Shubin which describes how all of us animals with fingers and paws are linked to an ancestral fish who developed a weird fin that became the basis for our limbs.
Other recent work is inspired by NYCʼs American Museum of Natural History–people looking at dioramas, stuffed animals looking at people, lab rats mingling with the crowds. An imaginary museum hallway also features in many recent paintings, in some mysterious time and place after humans have lost control.
I am originally from the west coast. After various youthful detours, I ended up in Texas where I found my artistʼs survival job–as a part time physician
(diagnostic radiology). For 20 years I worked one week as a radiologist followed by one week as an artist. During that time I did not exhibit. I was able to quit medicine in 2004, have been a fulltime artist ever since, moving to Brooklyn in 2006, where I continue to live and work. I began exhibiting in 2006, mainly in NYC, though showing also in Boston, Virginia, and New Jersey.