2011 Kamiyama Artist in Residence participant
Kevin Yates (b. 1974, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada) graduated from the Ontario
College of Art and Design and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in, and
completed a Master’s of Fine Arts degree from the University of Victoria.
He has taught sculpture at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, theUniversity of Oregon, and currently works as professor of Visual Arts at York University in Toronto Canada.
Solo exhibitions of his work have been staged across Canada and the US atArtspeak (Vancouver), Anna Leowens Gallery (Halifax) , Optica (Montreal), YYZ(Toronto) and Ditch Projects (Oregon). His work has also been featured in prominent group exhibitions at the National Gallery of Canada, Musée d’art contemporain, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Alberta and theArt Gallery of Nova Scotia, among others. Yates is represented by the Susan Hobbs Gallery in Toronto. (text in 2011)
Untitled (Akui hashi)
Sculpture dimensions: 28 bridges and 4 sets of emergency speakers
I came to Kamiyama with my 10-year-old son as a newly single parent. It was exciting and changeling for both of us, but we instantly felt welcomed and at home here. I was experiencing Kamiyama not only as an artist, come to reflect upon it and create work, but also through the eyes of my young son as we explored it together, as best friends. We would swim in the river, hike it and look for interesting plants, animals and stones along it, and when there were typhoons we would stand near in awe of how quickly the river would transform from something powerful and scary back to an inviting calm blue again. Before arriving to the residency I had plans to explore themes of literally travelling to the other side of the world from where I live, and how that might relate to the reflected sculptures I was working on at that time. Once we arrived, and with my son attending school across the river from my studio I became aware of the ‘other sides’ on a smaller scale, as I routinely crossed one of the many bridges in Kamiyama to drop him off and pick him up from school. I found the extreme number of bridges in Kamiyama almost comical, with some being built side by side, some primitive wood slab bridges right next to modern highly engineered ones, and everyone seemed to have their favorite one for an number of reasons other than their intended purpose. I began to obsess about them, and wanted to understand everything about their different styles and construction methods, and I would make trips to scout them out, taking photos of them from all angles, and measuring every tiny detail. I then obtained the bridge building plans from the town office with the goal of intimately knowing them through remaking them in miniature. I used Hinoki wood because of its fine grain, and ease to machine and work. I was excited to use the miniature wood working machines I purchased while in Japan; a table saw, router, lathe, drill press and a plate used to pull small strips of wood through to dimension them down to the thickness of a thread, all of which were necessary for me to complete the project. More importantly though, were all of the people who volunteered their time to assist me in the making of it. It was incredible to see everyone in the final hours before the installation, each with a bridge in their hand meticulously adding the last small details of the bridge guardrails. As I start to feel my time in Kamiyama was finite I had the idea of connecting all the individual bridge models together into one long continuous zigzagging bridge which would poetically link the viewer, my son and myself to this place, yet acting as a kind of journey ‘nowhere’ with no beginning and no end, taking composition inspiration for it from Hiroshige’s “Ōhashi atake no yūdachi”.