In the digital age, one key to an artwork’s success is its ability to double as a selfie backdrop. In an ingenious twist on this phenomenon, Brooklyn-based artist Carrie Yamaoka’s first museum retrospective, titled recto/verso, leans into the collaborative relationship between artist and viewer with pieces that are reflective and change as one navigates the space, teasing out the multiple ways in which a viewer can read the work.
Opening July 13 at Seattle’s Henry Art Gallery, the exhibition will feature pieces from 1990 to today (a span during which Yamaoka cofounded the queer art collective fierce pussy, won an Anonymous Was a Woman award, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship), ranging from early text-based works to recent polyester film creations. One piece, 10 by 8 (black bubble #1), from 2015, layers reflective Mylar and urethane resin over imprints of black-painted bubble wrap to emphasize the depths beneath its mirrorlike façade of the beholder’s reflection. “I’m interested in the idea of giving the viewer the agency to interact in a very material way with objects [to] create their own picture,” Yamaoka says. “So actually, I’m setting up the conditions in which they will create that picture themselves.”