Gage artist embraces movement and change

Gage Gallery hosts Oak Bay newcomer for September exhibit

A shift of life brings Heather Midori Yamada back to Canada’s West Coast after decades of success in the east. She showcases her work through Sept. 24 at the Gage Gallery on Oak Bay Avenue.

A shift of life brings Heather Midori Yamada back to Canada’s West Coast after decades of success in the east. She showcases her work through Sept. 24 at the Gage Gallery on Oak Bay Avenue.

A shift of life anchors Heather Midori Yamada’s return west after decades of career success in eastern Canada.

The new Oak Bay resident showcases her artwork highlighting life’s moves this month at the Gage Gallery on Oak Bay Avenue.

After decades as an artist in Montreal and Toronto, an irresistible pull of the heart brings Yamada back to the coast.

“Victoria’s home now,” Yamada said in a phone interview. She moved to Oak Bay over a year ago but is wrapping up work commitments in the east.

Her partner, a McGill teacher, took lengthy trips to Victoria – including a sabbatical – for years. Then after knowing each other more than two decades, the couple started seeing each other two years ago. He told her he was retiring and bought a place in Victoria.

“He put the cards on the table and I thought well, let’s just see how this goes,” she said. “A year later we moved out there together and that was last June (2015).”

Finishing up her work in spurts back east, she comes home to relax for a bit before heading back east in October for the final mop up of contracts and obligations.

“After fall of this year, I’m permanently in Victoria in terms of work,” she said.

Yamada is a longtime visual artist and teacher who works with Japanese washi papers in paintings, collage and installations. Starting in Toronto’s Open Studio in 1980, more recently she began to work with very large pieces of washi in hanging installations such as the 2012 three banner pieces, one suspended wall piece and two banners occupying the street view window of Galerie Espace in Montreal’s Mile End.

On the Island, she’s done a little teaching in Victoria and was part of the Oak Bay studio tour last fall.

“I have to be careful I don’t fill the dance card too quickly,” she said of her return to being an artist with a little teaching on the side.

A part of the Gage Gallery Collective, she shows at that Oak Bay Avenue space through Sept. 24 and plans to hold another show in 2017.

“It’s a great thing. It’s a really good little collective. I like that they’re all professional artists and serious about what they do,” she said. “I wanted to get involved but just at a certain level until I put down roots and get my feet wet.”

Her shows are often followed by a pair of workshops or gatherings created during the show.

Her works feature layers of ink, washi paper, paint and images.

“Part of the reason I use layers of colour and different materials is to show that kind of experience,” she said. “When we look at the painting of course it’s static, it’s not a film, but using certain artistic means evokes that sense of movement, shifting and change.”

In deference to that constant movement, she works on her pieces right up to, and during, a show.

“When I show my work I, even during the show, will change the installation,” she said. “I watch how people come in, notice where they stop, what they look at and what they don’t look at, what they’re not able to see. Just because you come on Day 1, the second week it might be a different show.”

Or it may be just right with no shifts needed.

Utsuru, the ‘passage of time,’ shows Sept. 6 to 24 at the Gage Gallery, 2031 Oak Bay Ave. from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

“Part of what I would like to show is this sense of shifting from one state to another, one state of mind to another, one place to another. This idea of being in constant evolution and constant movement,” she said. “Even if we think we’re static, stuck, stable, there’s always movement. You’re in constant flux.”

An artist reception is at the gallery on Sept. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. followed by workshops in November and December. Visit artyamada.com to learn more about the artist.

 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read