Dream—Suspended, 2006. Porcelain, neon wire, and wood, 108 x 56 in. Richard Nicol, courtesy the artist and Howard House.

Fragile Simplicity: A Conversation with Yuki Nakamura

Since moving to Seattle from the small Japanese town of Shikoku in 1995, Yuki Nakamura has transformed Northwest abstraction into a minimal, unembellished art form. Beginning with her anthropomorphic porcelain sculptures, Nakamura’s abstraction has evolved into a performative gesture. In 2001, she received a Pollock-Krasner Grant and expanded on the depth of simplicity through an exploration of the sculpted multiple. Three years later, she traveled to La Napoule, France, and Novara, Italy, where she explored her attraction to the erratic lines that constitute land-mass, as represented in global maps. Like the undulating delineation of terrain, Nakamura’s abstraction is a gradual, non-linear process.

Jill Conner: Could you explain your formal approach to sculpture?

Yuki Nakamura: I create original forms in clay and make plaster molds out of them. Slip casting is a method used to cast multiple pieces from the same molds. I pour slip, or liquid clay, into plaster molds and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour before adding more. The plaster absorbs the water…