Lineal Fetishism II, 2020. Assorted animal bones and seashells, bronze, steel, brass, quartz, found stone, polyester resin, and synthetic clay, 22 x 29 x 14 in. Photo: Courtesy the artist

Truer Forms: A Conversation with Yasue Maetake

Yasue Maetake, a Japanese sculptor who has been living in New York for more than 10 years, creates small to life-size works with found materials, blending abstract and natural-seeming forms into eclectic, fully hybridized wholes filled with allusiveness. Sometimes her work makes sense purely as abstraction, and sometimes it comes close to the observable world. The point is that Maetake’s work touches on many different kinds of form, and many different kinds of thinking. Her sculptures—assemblages of radically different materials—create a reality all their own, though they welcome engagement and interpretation. Such artistic independence is not so much a philosophical stance as it is the outcome of creativity itself. Maetake’s process extends beyond an understanding of and dialogue with materials as she questions and transforms their very nature. The seeming randomness of her sensibility results in a truly original sculptural aesthetic whose rawness apparently eschews traditional form before lightly embracing it in an act of constant becoming.

Jonathan Goodman: You were born in Japan; studied craft art at the Toyama Institute of Glass Art and glass in architecture at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague; and received your MFA in 2006 from Columbia University in New York City. How did these experiences influence your practice?
Yasue Maetake: I have been very fortunate in my exposure to diverse influences. My experience in Japan taught me to appreciate the value of working with a single material while also employing my own intuitive, even spiritual, aptitude . . .

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