Opening Reception Oct. 14, 6-8PM
MIYAKO YOSHINAGA art prospects is pleased to present AEther, an exhibition of a new photographic series by Chicago-based artist Mayumi Lake. The exhibition will open Thursday October 14 through Saturday November 13. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, October 14, from 6 to 8 PM. This is Lake’s fourth solo exhibition with MIYAKO YOSHINAGA art prospects.
Mayumi Lake has been evoking emotional responses from her viewers for years. This time, she provides her own reaction first. In her new portraits of young women and pubescent girls, ominous illumination and vintage costumes add an evocative and uncanny tone to an otherwise genteel subject matter. Some of the subjects are posed in austere Victorian dress covering their feminine curves while others play schoolgirls wearing mini-skirt uniforms. Their shapes and facial expressions are obscured in strategic shadow. According to Lake, these unconventional portraits are based on historical or culturally specific stereotypes, and all of them have one thing in common: For the artist, these women and girls posses the power to inspire a sense of awe.
After tracing the difficult lives of her own mother and grandmother during the WWII in her Ex Post Facto series (2008), Lake was intrigued by the legacy of the Countess Mitsuko Coudenhove-Kalergi (nee Aoyama, 1874-1941), a pioneering Japanese woman who migrated to Europe in the late 19th Century and married into a prominent European family. Upon visiting the countess’ grave, Lake was struck by an inexplicable, overwhelmingly emotional unease which inspired Lake to find compelling female archetypes that she admired and feared at the same time. In AEther, Lake invites these women out of the darkness much as a medium calls forth spirits. It is through this deeply personal and intimate relationship with her own phobia and fantasies that Lake injects authenticity into her disquieting female portraits.
Originally from Osaka, Japan, Mayumi Lake studied photography at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Since 1997, Lake’s work has been exhibited at national and international venues including MIT List Visual Arts Center, the Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Fotografie Forum International (Frankfurt), Art In General, the Asia Society, and the Museum of Sex (New York). Nazraeli Press published two monographs by Lake (Poo-Chi, Ex Post Facto). In 2008, international photography magazine EYEMAZING featured her Ex Post Facto series.