A&E » Arts

A new Rodin in Whistler

Local artist Michelle Yamamoto paints herself into a modern day Rodin for Self Portrait-Inner Landscapes exhibit at ARTrageous



What: Cornucopia

What: ARTrageous

When: Thursday, Nov. 8, 9 p.m.

Where: The Brewhouse

Tickets: $45/$25

Rodin’s 19 th -century sculpture, The Caryatid Carrying a Stone, comes to life under the paintbrush and body shape of a modern day 21 st -century artist in Whistler.

Like Rodin’s caryatid model, local painter Michelle Yamamoto poses nude in the crouching position with hands baring an invisible weight. Internationally acclaimed photographer Bonny Makarewicz photographs the famous recreation, which Yamamoto will later paint from, as one of the installments showcased in the Self Portrait – Inner Landscapes art exhibition at ARTrageous on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 9 p.m. at the Brewhouse as part of Cornucopia celebrations.

“I totally freaked out when I first saw the photos,” Yamamoto admits. “I told Bonny the next day that we could only display thumbnail size photos next to the paintings.”

But a few weeks and paintings later Yamamoto’s confidence, along with Makarewicz’s photos, have grown. Both photo and painting will be boldly displayed side by side in Yamamoto’s installment called A Tribute To Rodin.

Vulnerable doesn’t even begin to explain the feelings Yamamoto will feel when her nude form will be publicly displayed. However, the single mother is ready and extremely excited about the intimate and raw showing.

“As an artist, companion, mother and friend, I’ve come to a nice place in my life where I feel complete,” she said. “I don’t think someone could paint themselves nude if they didn’t have an inner confidence… I have a lot of inner peace.”

The master sculptor’s works always inspired confidence in the young art student who viewed a Rodin exhibition in Tokyo in 1990. The exhibition later led Yamamoto to sculpting of her own.

“I was awe-inspired by how his works compellingly show the female form aware of her sexuality, without shame, assertive, not passive, but supremely elegant and powerful,” she said. “This experience awoke my connection with the artist within, which had not been fully realized yet.”

Seven years ago, Yamamoto opened her first solo art exhibit to rave reviews in three national newspapers and Asia People Magazine in the Philippines. However, bogged down in distractions and duties such as commissioned commercial work, divorce and raising a son alone, it wasn’t until this year that the university-credited illustrator jumped into her paint box with both feet. The result was a highly successful, all-new showing called Yinspiration at ArtWalk, where many of her paintings sold. Self Portrait – Inner Landscapes is the next step in her artist adventure, the springboard for what will grow to a solo showing in spring 2008.