(1925 - )
Acrylic on canvas
32" x 47½
Signed, dated, titled verso 1960
Born in 1925, confirmed by a family member as the date found on her baptism documents. Her family moved from Japan to Hawaii in 1935, but by 1941 had returned to Japan; seven days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a child in Japan during W.W.II, Noriko witnessed wartime devastation, and developed an intense fear of fire. She had calligraphy lessons, taught by her father. Although a very strict teacher, she later credits those lessons for the confidence in her mature brushwork. As a young woman, following a brief return to Hawaii, Yamamoto came to the Bay Area, where she enrolled in the California College of Arts and Crafts. A student there from 1952-1957, her influential teachers were Richard Diebenkorn, Nathan Olivera, and Sabro Hasegawa. Upon Hasegawa's death in 1957, Noriko was chosen to take his teaching position. She continued graduate studies in 1958, at Mills College, with Afro Basaldella as a teacher. Afro would later become Italy's most famous early abstract expressionist painter. Yamamoto mostly painted acrylics on unprimed canvas, and she became one of the very few Asian American female abstract expressionist artists. She participated in numerous group shows, but also had solo shows at the Oakland Museum (1957) and at the M.H. deYoung Museum (1960). And because of that exhibit, a request came from Lloyd Goodrich at the Whitney Museum, to borrow some of her paintings for the show "Young America 1960". Goodrich was one of America's Monuments Men during W.W.II. Over the years other exhibitions followed. These shows traveled both in the U.S.A. and internationally. Noriko's exhibition records are quite impressive. Sadly, her childhood fear of fire became a reality. Recently, a fire at her home, adjacent to her studio, destroyed or damaged nearly 90% of her early paintings. This painting "Tiki", a nickname her early California friends gave her, represents one of the few available examples.
Exhibition history available