TOMOKO YAMAGUCHI, HOPE

Tanya, our EAC intern, writes about one of her favorite artworks on display in the 2019 EAC Studio Exhibition:

Tomoko Yamaguchi’s Hope on display in the 2019 EAC Studio Exhibition is a monochromatic sculpture composed of buff clay depicting what appears to be a bare-bodied woman sitting with her right arm caressing her outstretched legs and her left arm behind her, hand firmly settled on the ground. At first glance, my reaction was “wow, she’s just chillin’.” Rather than feeling unsettled by a figure observing me right back, I was comforted yet justifiably caught off guard by seeing a naked figure of woman in such a relaxed position. Despite conditions of hypervisibility and sexualization of women's bodies, there is still a great anxiety towards womanhood and femininity to the point of policing and murder. For a woman, and especially women navigating the world with marginalized identities, the body is subject to quotidian implicit and explicit abuse and violences. With this day to day dismissal of one’s humanity, the body is vulnerable and exhausted as read by non-uniformity of light falling on sculpture’s glossy yet scratched and uneven divots. The body appears worn down and tired. However, the naming of this piece offers a cathartic response to these traumas. This sculpture returns the gaze and asserts comfort with vulnerability. The caressing arm does not quite read as reserved but rather preserving and protecting oneself, rightly so. This piece speaks to the body’s resilience and the right for women just being able to chill and exist in their own bodies on their own terms. Though I have not seen the rest of Yamaguchi’s work, this piece speaks to their ability to capture the observer’s attention with a single gaze.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the EAC Figure Sculpture department.

Posted By: 
Tanya
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