Lynne Yamamoto

It’s impossible to peel back the foil lid on a cup of instant noodles crafted by Lynne Yamamoto, because she’s rendered the ordinarily cheap, disposable container in vitreous china. Elsewhere in her solo show Genteel, there’s a Spam can made of the same material, its key forever unable to turn. Born and raised in Hawaii, then later trained at Evergreen State College, the Massachusetts artist is exploring her Pacific Island heritage in the exhibit. Hawaii only became a state in 1959, but it’s long been a melting pot for different cultures—including Yamamoto’s Japanese-American family. (Or our president’s, for that matter.) Peoples, traditions, and their foodstuffs arrive by boat; and Yamamoto is particularly interested in the canned and prepared foods that became ubiquitous in Hawaii during the World War II years. And after the war, all those army surplus materials helped build and transform the islands. Grandfather’s Shed, for instance, is modeled on a humble garden shack made of corrugated metal, which would rust away in a decade. Only here it’s been scaled down to white marble—an “ambivalent memorial” to the past, in the artist’s words, which will last for centuries. BRIAN MILLER

Thu., Aug. 19, 6-8 p.m.; Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 21, noon. Starts: Aug. 19. Continues through Oct. 2, 2010

 
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