Yamaguchi achieves a uniquely chaotic, vibrantly intense and visually robust abstraction, through a technique he’s invented and refers to as “Cut & Paste”. The method entails laying out paints on plastic
sheets to dry, then cutting, peeling and pasting them onto other surfaces, as if collaging threedimensional brushstrokes. Through this process of layering and arranging, the seemingly unrelated colors converge into highly intricate forms, reminiscent of a physiognomy or landscape, but appear as fresh, enmeshed, and rhythmic compositions. Yamaguchi’s earlier work mainly focused on subjects culled from social media imagery and was then dubbed a “digital Impressionist”; his recent work is pushing the possibilities of painting, gesture, and form by creating a new kind of sculptural paintings, in which the paint strokes seem to leap off any semblance of surface.
The spontaneity of the splattering paint, the freedom of gesture, and the performative exploration of painting seen in Yamaguchi’s work conjures to mind the work of Kazuo Shiraga from the Gutai movement, who painted with his feet in search of a new possibility of painting. If Shiraga’s work was about the body and the surface, Yamaguchi’s work returns to investigate the brushstroke and its departure from the surface, through the lens of street culture, Japanese aesthetic sensibilities and his intimate studies of modern and contemporary Western painting masters, like Cecily Brown, Gerhard Richter, Monet, among others.
Yamaguchi’s work is not only contained within the square of the canvas, but also finds its expression on different surfaces and media. From urban murals to skateboard sculptures, streetwear tshirt collaborations to multistory department store commissions, his practice consumes the notion of genre, swiftly traversing between subculture, popular culture, and high culture, with equal amount of gusto and eloquence.
Yamaguchi was born and raised in Shibuya, Tokyo, and now works in Brooklyn, NY.