Yasue Maetake “Transmutations”

Microscope Gallery

poster for Yasue Maetake “Transmutations”
[Image: Yasue Maetake "Lineal Fetishism II" 2020, assorted animal bones, seashells, bronze, steel, brass, found stone, polyester resin, synthetic clay, 22 x 29 x 14 in. — Courtesy of the artist and Microscope Gallery]

This event has ended.

Microscope Gallery presents Transmutations, a solo exhibition of new works in sculpture by New York-based Japanese artist Yasue Maetake.

In eleven small to medium-sized works, Maetake combines materials such as rocks, minerals, seashells, and assorted animal bones from taxidermy specimens and other sources with reflective metals including silver, steel, copper, and brass into abstract and figurative forms suggesting both the ancient archetypal and the futuristic.

In Transmutations, Maetake is especially interested in the way a “material’s physical presence” can be viewed as a living agent — such as energy converters, molecule’s circulation, living cells or catalyst — rather than as a still or static object. Situated on pedestals or standing freely in the gallery space, the works by the artist, who frequently draws inspiration from Japanese Animism and Western Baroque, seem to be perpetually in various states of motion, transition or transformation.

In seemingly delicate works, Maetake’s use of rigid and inflexible materials and the processes she subjects them to — including burying, casting, oxidization, scraping, and welding, among others — challenge the viewer’s expectations, particularly with respect to mass and weight. As a result, her figures enter realms that she describes as “beyond strictly human” and of “new species,” in which laws of gravity are routinely defied.

The titles of the two related series to which the works belong, “Lineal Fetishism” from 2020 and “Symbolic Atmosphere” from 2019, remind us of the cultural and personal power and symbolism often assigned to certain objects, which are at once present and transcended in Maetake’s sculptures.

Yasue Maetake is a Toyko-born artist living and working in New York. Her work has been exhibited extensively in the US and abroad including at Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Harris Lieberman, New York; Espacio 1414, The Berezdivin Collection, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Queens Art Museum, Queens, NY; and Fredric Snitzer, Miami, FL, among many others. Maetake’s work has been reviewed in Artforum, The New York Times, Art in America, FlashArt, and others.

Maetake was recently named as one of “20 international women advancing the field of sculpture” by Artsy. In the summer 2021, Maetake’s work will be featured in Sculpture Magazine. Maetake was a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in Sculpture and an artist residency in the studio of El Anatsui in Ghana with a research grant from the Agency for Japanese Cultural Affairs.

Yasue Maetake earned her MFA from Columbia University in New York.



from January 29, 2021 to March 14, 2021

Opening Reception on 2021-01-29 from 13:00 to 21:00


Yasue Maetake

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