For “Disappearances,” Shinji Turner-Yamamoto’s exhibit at the Contemporary Arts Center here in Cincinnati, the artist uses elements such as plaster and paint chips to create sculptural works meant to comment on fragility and transience in the human world. On the walls of the gallery are gilded fractures and found pieces of demolition, destruction and detritus, evidence of buildings and lives no longer there, but lingering both in the mind and in the material world. The show is an amazing and sparse poem about what is left behind, and as I toured it my thoughts turned to Raymond Thunder-Sky. The connection is obvious: Raymond was interested in deconstruction and demolition, and his drawings, like Turner-Yamamoto’s sculptural wall-hangings, are evidence of buildings torn to pieces by a large wrecking ball usually, and in that destruction Raymond finds pattern, order and an almost Mondrian-esque symmetry. The same eye and ambition and interest is in Turner-Yamamoto’s works. Shinji Turner-Yamamoto was born in 1965 in Osaka, Japan and studied fresco painting in Kyoto. He has exhibited around the world, from India to Ireland, and is committed to using historic and natural elements in his work as meditations on the environment. Raymond Thunder-Sky was born in Hollywood, California in 1950, and lived most of his adult life in Cincinnati, Ohio, only exhibiting his drawings toward the end of his life. Their biographies could not be more disparate; their aesthetics and sensibilities intermingle like musical notes.
Below: Top three photos: works at the Contemporary Arts Center by Shinjo Turner-Yamamoto. The bottom four photos: three "close-ups" of Raymond Thunder-Sky's works, and a full-scale drawing.