essays by: Patricia J. Graham, Justine Ludwig, Kuninori Matsuda, Sarah Tanguy, Shinji Turner-Yamamoto

publisher: DAMIANI, Italy, 30.09.2012 | ISBN-10: 8862082282 | ISBN-13: 9788862082280 | hardcover | all edges gilt | 12 x 8 in. | 128 pgs | 100 color | U.S. $40.00




Aloi, Giovanni. Marder, Michael. "Getting Entwined: A Foray into Philosophy’s and Art’s Affair with Plants," e-flux, 8.8.2023.

Aloi, Giovanni. Marder, Michael. "Vegetal Entwinements in Philosophy and Art," The MIT Press, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA 2023

Stamey, Emily. "Gilded: Contemporary Artists Explore Value and Worth," Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC, USA 2022.

McLaughlin, Beth. "Striking Gold," Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA, USA 2019.

Huff Hunter, Bea. "Traces of Probable Loss: A Conversation With Shinji Turner-Yamamoto," Sculpture Magazine, may/june 2019. - -

Soley, Ulya. "Ormanlardan galeri, müze, bienal ve dijital alanlara: Güncel sanatta ağaçlar" K24, 07.03.2019.

"Shinji Turner-Yamamoto at Sapar Contemporary," The Tribeca Trib, 07.03.2019.

Cascone, Sarah., Goldstein, Caroline. "On View | 23 High-Energy Gallery Shows Opening in New York This March That You Won’t Want to Miss," artnet News, 06.03.2019.

Chao, Jacquline. "Shinji Turner-Yamamoto: Microcosm and Macrocosm," SAPAR CONTEMPORARY, New York, NY, USA 2019.

Cheetham, Mark. "Landscape into Eco Art: Articulations of Nature Since the ’60s," Penn State University Press, PA, USA 2018.

"Zapachy | Shinji Turner-Yamamoto," Bukovina, number 4, winter 2018.

Zielinski, Sara. "Sara Zielinski Interviews Shinji Turner-Yamamoto," The Huffington Post, 07.06.2017.

Cox, Kara. "Uprooted from our Native Soil: A Two-Person show asks timely questions about nature and sustainability," artcritical, 21.03.2017.

"Substance And Increase - A Must-See Art Exhibition," GESSATO, 02.03.2017.

Petzold, Dirk. "Shinji Turner-Yamamoto and Gabriela Albergaria at Sapar Contemporary," WE AND THE COLOR, march 2017.

"At SAPAR CONTEMPORARY: Two Artists Use Natural Substances, Often From Far-Flung Places," The Tribeca Trib, 23.02.2017.

"Substance and Increase," Wall Street International Magazine, 23.02.2017.

Burkhalter, Laura. "Alchemy: Transformations In Gold," Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA, USA 2017.


Pentimenti is the plural of pentimento, a word describing the visible traces of earlier work that can be seen through the layers of a finished painting. Shinji Turner-Yamamoto takes on this term metaphorically rather than literally, employing it to title sculpture rather than painting but embracing its acknowledgement of layered artistic endeavors. Each of these small sculptures is a complex combination of materials, and they reach their completed form not only through the artist's hand but by the processes of nature and time.

The scope of geologic time presents an almost impossible set of numbers to comprehend. Materials we come into contact with on a regular basis—coal, stone, gold existed on Earth long before life, as earlier forms of life existed long before human civilization came into being. Throughout his body of work, Turner-Yamamoto has chosen to use materials so old that ancient doesn't even describe them accurately. Each pentimento in this exhibition incorporates an item of significant age, either a geologic specimen or an archeological artifact. What might look like a humble stone or a cast-off piece of plaster is actually a fossil fragment or architectural debris from a place of worship, or coal-infused limestone removed from a mining site. Turner-Yamamoto then alters these objects by growing crystals on them (a difficult and time-consuming chemical process) and carefully coats them with high-karat gold leaf.

Evidence of the artist's hand seems deliberately obscured in the final sculptures. Their intimate scale and weightless installation on the wall invites close scrutiny, and it can be difficult to tell a rough, broken edge from naturally occurring textures. The golden layer added by Turner-Yamamoto does not transform these objects into jewels or decoration, and it's not intended to add value or superficial glamour. Paint still peels from the plaster, and the sharp, organic geometry of every crystal remains evident. Instead, the gold is another layer of matter incorporated into these relics of nature and civilization, commemorating the constant passage of time.

Laura Burkhalter


Volk, Gregory. "Substance and Increase," SAPAR CONTEMPORARY, New York, NY, USA 2017.


[...] Instead, it is a quasi-abstract paintings made in and with the natural world and it is absolutely riveting. Way back in the mid-19th century, in America, an important influence on Walt Whitman was Transcendentalist philosopher-poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, who counseled immersive, consciousness-altering experiences in nature, which could be channeled into writing and art (in his seminal essay “Nature,” from 1844, Emerson memorably described an expansive experience outdoors as becoming “a transparent eyeball.”) Many years later, Turner-Yamamoto’s paintings evince something very similar, a similar flowing exchange between self and world, artwork and world. [...] Time is one of his chief themes, and his works often embrace a vast scale of both geologic and evolutionary time, as well as cultural history. His gritty, yet also delicate and sensitive, Constellaria paintings (three are included in this exhibition), while once again largely abstract, suggest organic material and the earth’s surfaces, but extend things even further, into the cosmos.

Whether installed on the wall, directly on paintings, or as small sculptures on pedestals, Turner-Yamamoto’s small sculptures (which he calls “pentimenti” after the Italian term for alternations in a painting that reveal how an artist changed her or his mind when composing the work) resemble geologic specimens, fossils, and both archaeological and architectural fragments, but they also seem magical and talismanic. They are actually hybrid creations, part found object and part made sculpture. With Pentimenti #59 (2017), Turner-Yamamoto grew crystals around a fragment of West Virginia coal from a mountaintop removal mining site. The white crystals look wonderful and luminous as they envelop but don’t fully obscure the piece of dark coal. With Pentimenti #56 (2017), Turner-Yamamoto grew crystals, covered in gold leaf, around a plaster fragment from an abandoned and decrepit 19th-century Catholic church in Cincinnati. This ignoble bit of a ramshackle church has a new life as a resplendent precious metal or raw gem. Subtly, and with real sensitivity, both works respond to and, perhaps, heal sites of devastation: one in West Virginia where the whole top of a mountain was lopped off to get at the coal underneath, scarring the land for centuries, and the other a once impressive church fallen into ruin. [...]

Gregory Volk


Judah, Hettie. "Art Fairs | Global Emerging Art Finds Its Market at START Fair 2016," artnet News, 15.09.2016.

Graves, Jen. "FEATURES | Dear Seattle Art Fair, I Love You and I Want You to Live," The Stranger, 10.08.2016.

Rosen, Steven. "Shinji Turner-Yamamoto: Sidereal Silence," Weston Art Gallery/Aronoff Center for the Arts, Cincinnati, OH, USA 2016.


[...] The church itself was a metaphor for death—of faith, of cities, of beauty—as it had been decaying into ruin and debris. But Turner-Yamamoto saw it as a site, a symbol, for regeneration—nature meets the built environment and honors it (coexists with it) by changing it. In the center of the church was an upright live birch tree, suspended as if a floating hologram, atop an inverted dead birch. The live tree’s branches scraped the ceiling; the dead one’s grazed the floor. You could see the thin wires holding them in place, but it seemed more like you had walked through some kind of dimension warp into a forest right in the middle of a church.[...]

[...] It is representative of the others in the Irish Study series, whose overall impact is like capturing and framing—without harming—a slice of the outdoors and shaping it in such a way that it becomes an art object yet keeps intact its original purpose.[...]

Steven Rosen


Schwartz, Kathy. "Turner-Yamamoto Exposes Earth’s Natural Artistry," CityBeat, may 2016.

Itinerary, Sculpture Magazine, may 2016.

Hausfeld, Russell. "Eastern artist recreates nature indoors," The News Record, april 2016.

Metzger, Matthew. "Shinji Turner Yamamoto’s Sidereal Silence, at Weston Art Gallery," AEQAI, april 2016.


[...] it is the foreignness of Turner-Yamamoto’s work that interests me. It feels utterly new yet ancient (its ancientness being a literal fact given his clever use of 450 million-year-old fossil dust as a “pigment” in his paintings). Utter originality coupled with something primitive is, in my opinion, a telling and optimistic sign of our times. The dichotomous combination serves as an aid in the complicated balancing act of, on one hand, some path forward out of the diaspora of much of contemporary art and life with, on the other hand, a deep awareness of our rich and ancient histories, our primordial connection to “mother earth.” [...] I’m reminded of Thoreau’s essay on Walking, discussing wildness: “Life consists with Wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him.” [...]

Matthew Metzger


Rosen, Steven. "Art: Sidereal Silence at the Weston Art Gallery," CityBeat, april 2016.

Jackson, Nicholas. "Hanging Garden," Atlas Obscura, 28.05.2013 (updated 2016 )

Speeg, Bonnie. "The Sidereal Messenger: Hanging Garden Retrospective," unpublished manuscript, 2016.

Sury, Alexander. "Kunstfrüchte am Weltenbaum," Der Bund, 16.10.2015.

Fischer, Peter. "About Trees," Zentrum Paul Klee, Snoeck Verlag, Köln, Germany 2015.

Tarrish, Laura. "Hunter | Gatherer," Design Observer, 23.02.2015.

"HIGHLIKE," SESI-SP Editora, São Paulo, Brazil 2014.

Graham, Patricia J. "Japanese Design: Art, Aesthetics & Culture," Tuttle Publishing, VT, USA 2014.

Metzger, Matthew. "Fresh Air: Art from the Bernheim Arboretum," AEQAI, april 2014.

FEATURED ARTIST, SculptureCenter | tumblr, 03.2014.

"40 for 40," Greater Reston Arts Center, VA, USA 2014.

Walser, Lauren. "Global Tree Project: A Conversation with Artist Shinji Turner-Yamamoto," PreservationNation - National Trust for Historic Preservation, may 2013.

Turner-Yamamoto, Shinji. "The Global Tree Project," INTERIORS, december 2012/january 2013.

Yoo, P. Laura. "Shinji Turner-Yamamoto on the Nature of Things," AEQAI, december 2012.

Demaline, Jackie. "Turner-Yamamoto extends 'nature' exhibit at Weston Gallery," Cincinnati Enquirer, 20.12.2012.

Schwartz, Kathy. "Shinji Turner-Yamamoto’s Silence Is Golden," CityBeat, december 2012.

The Moment | Blind Faith, The New York Times SundayStyles, 18.11.2012.   pdf

Breyer, Melissa. "Artist Hangs Living Trees in Abandoned Churches," TreeHugger, 07.06.2012.

Rosen, Steven. "New Art Book and Projects for Shinji Turner-Yamamoto," CityBeat, august 2012.

remix | BOOKSHELF, The New York Times T Magazine, 19.08.2012.

Graham, Patricia J. / Ludwig, Justine. / Matsuda, Kuninori. / Tanguy, Sarah. / Bauer, Joanne. / Turner-Yamamoto, Shinji. "SHINJI TURNER-YAMAMOTO: Global Tree Project," DAMIANI, Bologna, Italy 2012.


"Turner-Yamamoto’s transformation of gallery space into sanctified space recalls the history of museum structures. Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the architecture of many European and American museums was specifically designed to emulate classical Greek and Roman temples. [...] When Hanging Garden was dismantled, the live birch tree was once again planted in the ground beside the Holy Cross Church and the dead birch was given to students at the Art Academy of Cincinnati to use in new sculptures. This work, then, is a story of life, death, and rebirth—a living thing in a dead space and a dead organism reawakening a decommissioned church. As with Disappearances, the artist has revived pieces of detritus through artistic intervention and spiritual intention to create a transcendental experience."

Justine Ludwig


Rooney, E. Ashley. 100 Midwestern Artists, Schiffer Publishing, PA, USA 2012.

SiTE:LAB ARTPRIZE, SiTE:LAB + U of M School of Art & Design, Grand Rapids, MI, USA 2011.

ARTPRIZE 2011, Grand Rapids Magazine, december 2011.

"My Green City: Back to Nature with Attitude and Style," Gestalten, Berlin, Germany 2011.    preview

Banai, Nuit. "International Award - Shinji Turner-Yamamoto," ArtPrize Vimeo Channel, 8.10.2011


[...] Disappearances: An Eternal Journey was particularly provocative because it worked extremely well with the site. It was also connected interestingly with the history of art that deals with sculpture and social utopia. What sculpture can suggest, or what roles sculpture can play in offering new models of life and interaction with spaces. [...] (transcript)

Nuit Banai


Suri, Rajath. "The True Silent and Transcend," DIAOSU - National Sculpture Magazine of China, may 2011.

Graham, Patricia J. "Compassion, Craft and Connectedness," Orientations Magazine, may 2011.

Turner-Yamamoto, Shinji. "The Global Tree Project," CSPA - The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, issue five 2011.

Lenz Muente, Tamera. "The Impermanence of Nature," The Artist’s Magazine, may 2011.

Vaccariello, Linda. "Roots and Wings," Cincinnati Magazine, october 2010.

"Turner-Yamamoto’s Hanging Garden," ExpressCincinnati, october 2010.

Lenz Muente, Tamera. "Trees as Testament," CityBeat, october 2010.

Jervey, Ben. "Shinji Turner-Yamamoto's Stunning Hanging Garden," GOOD Magazine, 21.10.2010.

Gonzales, Jennifer. "Amazing Hanging Garden is Suspended in the Sky," Inhabitat, 20.10.2010.

Derringer, Jaime. "SHINJI TURNER-YAMAMOTO," Design Milk, 13.10.2010

Rosen, Steven. "HANGING GARDEN AT HOLY CROSS CHURCH," CityBeat, september 2010.

"MONGOLIA 360°, International Land Art Biennial," MNG360°, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 2010.

Tanguy, Sarah. / Bauer Joanne. "SLEEPING TREE," Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA, USA 2009.


"It took years for Sleeping Tree to reach this state and in years to come, its spirit will live on as a nurse tree, at once completing and perpetuating the cycle. By isolating one tree in the artificial context of a gallery, Turner-Yamamoto adds intimacy to what is a continual occurrence in the forest. The impact of this wondrous act is undeniable. In shepherding the transformation, the artist awakened viewers of all ages to the simple truth: we too engage in the cycle of life. And as we draw comfort from this communion, we acknowledge our tacit complicity in violating the natural order and our shared responsibility of care giving. Back at Dogwood Elementary, the students address Sleeping Tree by its proper name. Grasping the project’s spirituality, they are inspired to create their own artworks. The message has indeed come full circle."

Sarah Tanguy


Lavin, Cyndi. "Artist Profile: Shinji Turner-Yamamoto," Alloy, 15.01.2009

O'Sullivan, Michael. "A Haiku to Nature in Reston," The Washington Post, 17.10.2008.


[...] "An awareness that the succession of the seasons takes place not just outside us, but also within us. In every seed—just as in every sleeping tree, and indeed in each of us—there is the potential to awaken in another form from a slumber that only seems eternal. If not life after death, then life in death. The Earth itself, then, is both subject matter and art material.

To the extent that 'Sleeping Tree' works—and I mean both the installation and the exhibition that takes its name from it—it works like poetry. By making connections between what may seem disparate elements. Between the animate and the inanimate. Art and artlessness. Man and nature. Life and Death. Joyce Kilmer wrote, 'I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree.' At the Greater Reston Arts Center, Turner-Yamamoto has taken those words to heart."

Michael O'Sullivan


Lindholm, Fanny. "Papperskonst I naturens färger," Borgåbladet, 08.08.2008.

Ikävalko, Jari. "Turner-Yamamoton olevaisuuden maisemat," Uusimaa, 07.08.2008.

Ramanathan, Lavanya. "Teahouse of Artful Serenity," The Washington Post, 17.04.2008.

Dawson, Jessica. "Earthy Abstractions," The Washington Post, 14.03.2008.


Earth, sky, moon, sun. It's a veritable environmental science class inside Mu Project, where Shinji Turner-Yamamoto exhibits abstract paintings and wall works, many incorporating ash and several "painted" by raindrops. The works in the artist's "rainbow" series were made, in part, as raindrops fell onto a layer of ash and formed abstract patterns; he then sealed the ash onto clear acetate and suspended the page over colored canvas. The result looks like clouds obscuring a rainbow. In the gallery's rear room, dramatically lit gold- and silver-leafed abstract paintings evoke constellations. Ireland's soggy weather—experienced firsthand during a residency there—served as the show's co-author and inspiration.

Jessica Dawson


Jaffe Dan, Sharon. "Ode to Nature," Home and Design, spring 2008.

Parsons, Laura. "Looks into the Light," Virginia Living, spring 2008.

Farnstrom, Beth. "Paint It ... Green," Washington Life Magazine, april 2008.

Lyons, Emily. "The Living Colors - Art From Nature's Palette," Washington Spaces, spring 2008.

O'Sullivan, Michael. "Reaching for the Unreachable," The Washington Post, 25.05.2007.


"Turner-Yamamoto's abstractions look ostensibly outward, as often as not toward the stars. In such works as the triptych "Constellation" or others from a series of "Nebula" paintings, Turner-Yamamoto evokes an infinity of a very different sort, one embodied in the heavens. Yet his work is just as often earthbound, as in "Sleeping Vishnu Tree," inspired by an uprooted oak. Working in media that include milk, henna, rainwater, beeswax, tree resin and animal glue further roots the artist's poetic work in the here and now, his work has both a specificity and universality. In other words, it transcends itself."

Michael O'Sullivan


FRESH PAINT: process and possibility, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA, USA 2007.

Pajano, Rosalba. "Light Art," Skira Editore, Milan, Italy 2005.


"Shinji Turner-Yamamoto's works seem to evoke a very slow, still evolving cosmogony. The stone sculptures, the landscapes of marble powder, the frescoes are the metamorphoses of a world that continues to be born, bearing within the traces of what was."


"I lavori di Shinji Turner-Yamamoto sembrano evocare una cosmogonia lentissima, ancora in divenire. Le sculture con le pietre trovate, i paesaggi di polvere di marmo, gli affreschi, sono metamorfosi di un mondo che continua a nascere, portandosi dentro le tracce di cio' che e stato."

Rosalba Pajano


Backsbacka, Mary-Ann. "Blickar Bortom Nuet," Vastra Nyland, 26.05.2004.

Turner-Yamamoto, Shinji. "Almanacco - di scritture antagoniste," Odradek, Roma, Italy 2003.

"Blue Gold," The Irish Times, 07.11.2002.

Ferguson, Ciara. "Water therapy," Irish Independent, 27.10.2002.

"Bermuda Triangle in Cork," The Irish Arts Review, november 2002.

Daolio, Roberto. "Dust and Reflections," Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland 2002.


"The allure of an artistic process that seems to conceal the very nature of painting behind ritual gestures, repeating the essentialness of its labile and layered components, amplifies the faraway echo of a glimmer, an illustrated segment of life."


"L'incanto di un procedimento che sembra nascondere nel gesto rituale la natura stessa della pittura, riportata alla primarieta delle sue componenti labili e stratificate, lascia emergere l'eco lontana di una traccia, di un segmento disegnato di vita."

Roberto Daolio


"FIGURE del Novecento," Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna, Bologna, Italy 2001

"Die Blaue Begeisterung - 34 junge italienische künstler", Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin, Germany 2000.

Conti, Viana. "Arti Visive III - l'occhio in ascolto," Neos Edizioni, Genoa, Italy 2000.


"Observing Turner-Yamamoto's work, one is conscious of the oceans of time and thought involved in his creative process. Viewers are invited to experience this dimension and mood, one that produces a personal place of resonance in his work. The artist's selection of such seductive materials as gold and silver leaf evokes and establishes texture, transparency, reflective layers, all of which urge a flow of suggestive potentiality and emotion. Recourse to the nature does not produce naturalistic effect, but one of abstraction and fluctuation and an almost fluid immateriality of light."


"I tempi lunghi di composizione e percezione dell'autore producono luoghi di risonanza nell'opera e invitano lo spettatore a riprodurne la dimensione e il clima durante la lettura. La qualita' della tessitura di sperficie, la scelta di materiali seducenti come foglia d'argento e d'oro, trasparenze, piani riflettenti, sollecita lo scorrimento, da un supporto all'altro, di potenzialita' suggestive e micro emotive. Il ricorso alla natura non produce effetti naturalistici, ma di astrazione e fluttuazione quasi liquida e immateriale della luce."

Viana Conti


Deho, Valerio. "Altri Luoghi," Ex Dormitorio delle Feorrovie dello stato, Bologna, Italy 2000.

Sproccati, Sandro. "Prefazione a Yamamoto," Bologna, Italy 2000.

Ikegami, Hidehiro. "L'opera senza fine: Shinji Yamamoto in Irlanda," Arteletta N.7, 2000.

"Tutta la culturta dell'Oriente nell'installazione di Yamamoto," La Nazione, 27.10.1999.

Bompani, Michela. "Yamamoto a Villa Croce, i 'paesaggi' d'artista," la Repubblica, 14.06.1999.

ASIART Asian Contemporary Art: Biennale d'Arte Contemporanea n°0 - L'incontro con l'Occidente, SÕSHO - CELSO Istituto di Studi Orientali, Genoa, Italy 1999.

Evangelisti, Silvia. "AQUA," CELSO Istituto di Studi Orientali, Genoa, Italy 1999.


"The fascination which his works evoke intones in a delicate balance that makes perceptible the mysterious quality of the immaterial and indescribable, of that which is between things, and which, even if we do not see it, we know is there. It is evoked by the artist in the simple and natural forms of his found stones, in the small, pure hills of intangible marble powder, or in the mysterious reflection of the natural world in the detached frescoes, in the refined research of materials. His is an ever precious material, but of a preciousness not loud or garish being, rather, discreet, almost whispered, suggested. In this manner, the slender gold leaf which covers, like a precious skin, the natural indentation of a stone, and that same white powder, pure and incorporeal, which carries the artist back to the idea of the homo faber, of the creator of the dust, of the earth, constructs an entire world. Similar also is the elegance of the elaborated materials of the paintings, obtained by means of a two part process (from interior to exterior and from exterior to interior) arriving in the end at a surface velvety, sensitive and smooth, against which inserts of slender gold leaf become intermittent glimmerings of light."


"La fascinazione che le sue opere esercitano su di noi, risiede anche in questo delicato equilibrio che ci rende percepibile la misteriosa qualita dell'immateriale e dell'indescrivibile, di cio che e tra le cose e che seppure non vediamo sappiamo esserci, evocato dall'artista nelle forme semplici e «naturali» delle sue «pietre trovate», dei candidi coni di impalpabile polvere di marmo, o nel misterioso specchiarsi della natura negli «affreschi staccati», cosi come nella raffinata ricerca dei materiali. Una materia sempre preziosa, la sua, ma di una preziosita non sgargiante e chiassosa, bensi discreta, come sussurrata, suggerita: cosi la sottile lamina d'oro che riveste - come una preziosa pelle - l'incavo naturale della pietra, e la stessa polvere bianca, pura ed impalpabile, che riporta l'artista all'idea archetipica dell'homo faber, del creatore che dalla polvere, dalla terra, costruisce un mondo. Cosi, ancora, la raffinata ed elaborata materia dei dipinti, ottenuta con un doppio procedimento (dall'interno all'esterno e dall'esterno all'interno) sino a giungere ad una superficie liscia, sensibile, vellutata, su cui gli inserti di sottile foglia d'oro diventano brevi bagliori di luce."

Silvia Evangelisti


Turner-Yamamoto, Shinji. "ZIGZAG c/o Galleria Graffio," Zone, Bologna, Italy 1997.





"Art is the Prize," Storming the Castle Productions, 2013. | director: Tom Wagner | timelapse editor: Josh Leckrone | music: Jeremy Ensley

"DISAPPEARANCES," Contemporary Arts Center, 2010. | dp/editor: Joshua Mattie | music: Ethan Philbrick

"SLEEPING TREE," Greater Reston Arts Center, 2009.





Shinji Turner-Yamamoto: all photographs, with the exception of images noted with photographer's name