Tetsuya Yamada


“Perhaps science could explain but what’s beyond clarity inspires strong wonder. Where even is the clarity? My body’s experiences with gravity and centrifugal force liberated my mind. I found a place to exist and my imagination was provoked. Severe doubt and social criticism attempt to re-set these new values. I look at history to rediscover and to move forward.”                — Tetsuya Yamada

Tetsuya Yamada was born in Tokyo.  He received his MFA from Alfred University in 1997. Currently, he is a Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He has participated in artist in residency programs including, Kohler Arts/Industry in 2002 and 2009, Fabric Workshop in Philadelphia in 2004, and at European Ceramic Work Center in Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, 2010. He is a recipient of 2001 Tiffany Award, 2005 McKnight Fellowship for ceramic artist as administered by The Northern Clay Center, 2014 and 2019 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Visual Artists as administered by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and Grand Prize (the highest prize among 25 prizes from 1,875 artists from 71 countries), at Gyeonggi International Ceramix Biennale 2011, South Korea.


about Tetsuya Yamada — Coping

 by Cameron Downey


Coping arrives as the viewer does– in a group of subtle suggestions. Tetsuya Yamada’s inaugural room within the Hair & Nails gallery space ushers forth, from all angles, a flock of commanding nouns and steel propositions.

At first and on the right, perfectly fulfilled blacks ride down a canvas by way of stenciled words. Ride Till Tomorrow almost immediately defers an initial urge to read its message from left to right. The words and their groups hang neat with little space between each other, welcoming the mistake.

Perhaps not unlike the show itself, Coping’s namesake piece is closest to the door, likely the heaviest item at our entrance, but is by no means the most obvious. Coping is a steel pipe, 8 feet in stature. It rests with composure against an unintelligible crevice in the gallery wall. The pipe itself dons equidistant holes and wears a sleek but not-quite-black coating. The wit of Coping dances between its name and form. To ‘cope’ might often give rise to the visual of bending, melding to one’s environment for the sake of pleasure and survival. Yamada proposes steel as solution.

Of nearly the same length as Coping but of distinct disposition is Meritocracy and Independent. The paint lays on plywood and speaks in the same aesthetic terms as Ride Till Tomorrow. Instead of suspended words, ‘Meritocracy’ and ‘Independent’ sprawl equal and horizontal along the plane, bumping heads with one another. Both words, still in their perfect black forms, wear the painterly scoffs and traces of a skater on their surface. The marks are gray, pink and a few cunning hues between. They bring dawn to paintings otherwise at high noon. What’s made at last is the implication of impact, scratching, grazing and landing.

At the same time as all of this, brassy drums and assertive melodies move in the cinema behind Yamada’s ceramic centerpiece. Skate Park I blends almost completely into the white pedestal and wall behind, glowing in its eggshell landscape. The park nearly covers the pedestal as forms emerge from their shadows: a rounded plateau, its concave inverse and several ridges adorn its otherwise perfectly flat base. Its edges are soft and inviting.

The retro automated slide show behind complicate the idyllicSkate Park Iwith dusk shots of asphalt and the trucks and board that glide through its concrete steppe. All the angles of Yamada’s work concern the act of skating, but ultimately freedom– risk. It all seems too accurate to be a sonnet, for all the dangling scenes ofRide Till Tomorrow.Yamada gathers all in a roll call of experience, likening and widening the plane of what’s to be known of gliding.


Cameron Downey is an anti-disciplinary artist and environmental scientist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She recently earned their BFA from Columbia University in New York City. She explores concepts of world-building and liminal space by way of Black, fantastical and precarious bodies. Cameron uses sculpture, film, photography, the written and the performed to engage and engulf a language of epics out of the minutiae.  Recent exhibitions include a two-person show at Engage Projects (Chicago, 2021) and  “Wild Frictions” at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien (Berlin, 2021).Downey at  HAIR+NAILS: HAIR+NAILS at 9 Herkimer (Brooklyn, 2019), FUTURE FUTURE (2020), “The Human Scale” at Rochester Art Center, and in her solo show “Three Things Last Forever” (2020). Downey guest curated HOLDING SPACE, an exhibition of video, image, light and sound, in the H+N frontyard (summer 2020). @killkamdow

Greg Rick

The DANCING Plague

 “’The Dancing Plague’ is in direct reference to an event that occurred in Strasbourg Germany in the year 1518 where a large group of people began to dance uncontrollably. This ordeal included between 50 and 400 people who simply couldn’t stop dancing, some danced until they died, they literally danced themselves to death. This mystery has been attributed to mass hysteria or a collective hallucination, but no one really knows. The uncertain fogginess of The Dancing Plague as an event echos the historical continuum, history is as much unknown as known and essentially becomes the agreed upon past which my works aim to challenge. I have been witness to mass hysteria on both the macro and micro level. Most pointedly I participated in the mass hysteria that gripped the entire nation post 09/11/2001 which culminated in my involvement in the War on Terror as an infantry grunt, engaged in heavy combat in Iraq. The name, ‘The Dancing Plague’ is also of particular interest to me, where two seemingly opposing worlds come together to describe a unique event. The word ‘dancing’ implies a joyous or solemn physical act of celebration, while the word ‘plague’ implies death, suffering and a omnipresent fear. Also taking from opposing sources, and maintaining conflicting ideas, the works in this exhibition both push and pull, presenting visual cognitive dissonance, highly nuanced in the increasingly polarized world.”

— Greg Rick

Greg Rick was born in 1981 and grew up in South Minneapolis. Rick received his BFA from CCA and is currently pursuing his MFA in art practice at Stanford University. Developing a historical imagination, and a fondness for drawing stories, Rick collapses history while confronting personal trauma. Rick’s works exist as reflections of his personal experience while being in dialogue with the wider world. Rick has received the Combat Infantry Badge, the Yamaguchi print making award, the Nathan Oliviera fellowship, and the Jack K. and Gertrude Murphy Award and has shown in museums and galleries in both Minneapolis and California.


New History Painting: Greg Rick’s The Dancing Plague

by Brooks Turner

History is often taken for granted as a stable sequence of events leading from past to present and supported by fraying pages, black and white photographs, objects plucked from the flow of time, plaque laden public statues, and ruins slowly disintegrating. But it is as much myth as it is an archive, a story told through subjectivities disguised as objectivities.

Across six grommeted canvases in his exhibition, The Dancing Plague, Greg Rick uses a cacophonic rhythm of caricatures, cartoons, collaged images, animals, texts, and drips to expose History-as-myth. The exhibition title acts as a conceit, referencing an epidemic of dancing brought about by an unknown illness, hallucination, and/or mass hysteria in 1518. So thoroughly caught in the throes of the illness, many who were sick literally danced themselves to death. In response to the seductive absorption of historical propaganda, Rick layers a grotesque chaos of narratives spanning millennia but crucially told from within a modern empire. Fixed to the cinder block walls with screws, the very materiality of these paintings seems to reject the genre of History Painting monumentalized in gilded frames.

At the bottom of the stairs, we are thrust into the violence of history by Sensu Allegorico. A high resolution photograph spans the left third of the painting and depicts a man missing his right hand—documentation, I assume, of the horrific practice used by European colonizers on occupied and enslaved Congolese in the 19th and 20th centuries. By including this image, Rick immediately establishes a conversation around depiction, appropriation, and the imperialist lens of a camera. Who has the right to represent individuals from history? Did this man consent to be photographed? Is consent even possible within colonial structures? The inclusion of such historical depictions of violence is often used by artists or historians to say “look at this inhumanity!” while casually removing themselves from the arena. Here, however, Rick’s layering of found and rendered images implicates the viewer and even himself in the violence of imperialism: “look at our inhumanity!” At a smaller scale, a white man wears a sweatshirt containing the painting The Two Fridas, extending this narrative of exploitation into the contemporary appropriation of cultural imagery for white capitalist profit. At the top of the canvas, three grayscale images depict a man with his eyes covered and his face progressively more distorted by high powered wind. In painted speech bubbles he speaks: “Wait. Stop. NO!” The machine of industry, of capitalism, of imperialism is a runaway train, and all of us are along for the ride.

In his exhibition statement, Rick writes: “I have been witness to mass hysteria on both the macro and micro level. Most pointedly, I participated in the mass hysteria that gripped the entire nation post 09/11/2001, which culminated in my involvement in the War on Terror as an infantry grunt, engaged in heavy combat in Iraq.” While this personal history ties into themes across the exhibition, it feels particularly poignant in Blacks in Blue. A text at the top of the canvas reads “Remember the Maine and the Buffalo Soldiers,” referring to the all-black military regiments created following the Civil War to wage colonial warfare against indigenous populations in the West and against the Spanish Empire in Cuba and the Philippines. In the midst of black-and-white figures and horses in a red desert, two modern soldiers are depicted in full color, one riding the upper most horse, the other trampled underneath. Here again, Rick addresses the complexities of existing within an empire, the simultaneity of systemic exploitation and complicity in imperialist expansion.


Likewise, Lazarus conflates the legend of Christ raising the dead with the opioid epidemic. “NARCAN,” a life-saving drug that plays the role of Jesus in this updated myth, appears at the top of the canvas in white text on an elongated black figure arching from left to right. Other images, including a winged man and a figure emerging from a heart, further the mythologization of the opioid crisis—perhaps the only way possible to account for the scale of destruction brought about by pharmaceutical greed.  But, as a pharmaceutical, Narcan exists within the same exploitative structure as the opioids they counter. Clear notions of good versus evil are lost within the mess of imperial capitalism.


In the late Renaissance, History Painting was known as the highest form of aesthetics, no doubt because it had the power to shape public national identity through hallucinatory reveries disguised as truths. Rick’s History Paintings, however, expose this mythmaking of past and present for the imperial propaganda that it is, while simultaneously capturing the mess of existing within and with no control over an empire out of control.


Brooks Turner is an artist, writer, and educator currently focused on the history of fascism in Minnesota. His work has appeared at the Weisman Art Museum, Soo Visual Art Center, Steve Turner Contemporary, Claremont Graduate University, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Zhou B Art Center, among others. He is Chair of Visual Art at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists and a lecturer at the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University. He is the author of A Guide to Charles Ray Sleeping Mime, published with Paperleaf Press, as well as numerous essays published by Hair+Nails, TEMP/reviews, and Art Papers. Brooks is currently a Jerome Artist-in-Residence at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and a 21/22 MCAD-Jerome Early Career Artist Fellow.

About Greg Rick’s The DANCING Plague

by Kai Ajamu

It has been a privilege to view, research and respond to Greg Rick’s work here. Greg collapses history, examines points of intersection and contradiction. As I sifted through the layers, the references and narratives, I found myself drawing connections to my own personal and family histories. How do these histories interact with the shared heritage that is forced upon us as people living in the belly of the beast, in the imperial core, on Turtle Island. I tried to do this interplay justice in my writing. I tried to follow Greg’s lead, I followed him down historical rabbit holes, I hunted for easter eggs, details I may not have noticed at rst. I wrote a poem for each of the pieces in this show, describing and responding, trying to capture that same collapsing effect in text alone. It was a joy just to join in the dance and I will carry Greg’s pieces with me for long after this zine is published.

Sensu Allegorico (All Too Human)

A pigman is looking down at his shoes, he is bleeding all over the floor and there is laughter coming from a window crossed with lead bars.
There are layers of irony in the killing of an icon, a spotlight can hold the motion in place just long enough to glimpse the mechanism as it triggers.

The purpose of the nailing is to “awaken” and sometimes to “enrage” the nkisi to the task in hand. A bull dyes his fur red so that he may become the matador’s jacket, he does not know that his enemy conceals a blade beneath this cloth.
A choir of fingers point backwards, retracing the asymmetry.

The light can only capture snapshots and snippets which must be recorded and recounted in as much detail as possible for the procedure to succeed. Even the most diligent and thorough operations are subject to the distorting forces of social time and space: it is in each of these images’ destiny to be ravaged by standpoint and context, repurposed into new arrangements and relationships.

All acts are unsolvable and yet there are patterns. There are intersecting lines and points of overlap.
If observed for long enough, one may notice legible shapes forming for moments at a time inside the churn.
It is, however, believed that these shapes and the narratives projected onto them are completely in the mind of the observer and hold no objective meaning. The motion itself can’t be tracked or ordered without affecting the process and thus corrupting any data gathered.

Sometimes, however, chickens come home to roost. Experts simply cannot explain this phenomenon which folk knowledge is able to intuit, to hold as self evident. There is an old wives tale: if the winds are just right,
the plump and nearly flightless birds can travel over large bodies of water, though it is impossible for them
to know where they may make landfall. There have been reports of questing hens traveling from Cuba to Texas, from Florida to DC, some even say these creatures cross oceans.



Oh to dance, laugh and tally bodies

beneath an ebon archway
even as blood pools and oozes

Black on the underbrush.

The dead are revived as tools

and narrative devices, there

are no names in the secret

gospel, there is only proof

of the divine, how then

do the dead keep

their get down?

There is a body on the ground,

stretched over itself thin
as a silhouette, we pray
you wrap us in you,

show us your grace.

It is but a transfer of energy.


Name them, call to them,

raise them up inside you.

Keep them alive
so they can’t be refashioned

as weapons wielded
against life.


Blacks in Blue (Rendezvous)

Raytheon BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile That tension carried across bodies, possessed within limbs, in contact: a cutting tool which can also be thrown, extending outward in a series of ips and inversions.

The contradiction at the core of such distorted machinery is what allows it to play that black silhouette onto the dirt as it arcs through the air. A screaming eagle’s watchful spiral can become a carpet of char in two blinks, its eyes and wings are a smothering blanket borne down upon the topography, stretching and gridding the landscape at and yet the sheet still bunches up here, folds over, there are wrinkles waiting to be traced.

An axe clefts open the belly of a large bird,

cutting both ways.

Boeing AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter
Wearing the names of those who refused, whirring blades dance a deep hum. The blues play further afield than we are taught in school and some bison survived extermination by sporting metal horse shoes. It’s a false choice because either way the brand burns through fur, coiled and curling smoke on twitching skin, Black and blue boys in blue and Black: they almost match the land, prairie grasses reaching up from dusky subsoil, sunset sand, dried blood.

In the desert they dig up a helicopter named Victorio. History will always wriggle free, make its escape
from beneath the twirl of bastard swords.

Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk Utility Helicopter
No matter which way a people move, they must navigate the muck and its bloodiness, the mud that is trampled beneath horse’s feet, what is the difference
between a battle and a massacre? Compaction
makes terrain easier to traverse. A beast is felled
from the sky over the Horn of Africa:
the machine screams earthword and then
silence. It crumples against the concrete.

What does this mean for Black Hawk and his band?

An axe clefts open the belly of a large bird

cutting both ways, a rendezvous with destiny.



Let us refrain from doing evil to each other,

the supreme is in the air beneath
a shooting star, a ravenous Black cat

climbing claws up a body, marching saints

in prison pajamas, it’s right between the legs

there: the shadow of a conquistador’s sword

hiding in a pile of hands and feet and still

slicing, part of a shared heritage here.

Can you remember the Air Jordan 1s?
the supreme is in the air beneath
the leap, in the shade of a bounding

creature’s body there is uneasy protection,

as it blocks the sun, let us refrain

from doing evil to each other, as we are

the same flesh and blood


Socratic Jive (Against the Dimming of the Light)

John R Fox became a bomb:
he received a medal 53 years after
his death, Bill Clinton was on television.

A flying tiger leaps from the watchtower,

but it doesn’t know why it must jump.

This move is called the Lindy Hop.

Have you heard of the jitter bug?
My mother was fumbling in her handbag
for a handkerchief; I hoped it was for a pistol.

Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson

never came down hard on anybody
that was in the right.

Clinton’s administration initiated
a bombing campaign called Desert Fox

one year later and 54 years AD.
That one moment in my life hurt me

as much as all the others put together.

Poseidon’s spear struck true as a loose end,

a Greek corpse is a Roman story
a Saudi ghost knows Neptune never

carried a spear. The real weapon

was splintered into many

prongs, and so it was

technically a trident.

Why do you believe?


Negative Solidarity (Please Stop)

Luck is a pendulum, a series of negations, chained and swinging. The viewer is being sprayed, the glands of a black cat, a phantom hand. A sour taste means this substance is toxic to ingest and potent with age. The chemical agent, an accumulation of contradictions, acts as tinder. A white terror treading heavy, fully trained and equipped. All it takes is a single match in the company of cardboard targets.



Kai Ajamu Joy is a teacher, poet, performer and mixed-media artist originally from Chicago and based out of Minneapolis. She has essays published in the Walker’s Crosscuts Magazine and has performed at Fogstand Gallery in St. Paul. Kai currently teaches creative writing and media studies at Gaia Democratic School.

Oakley Tapola


 The work I make is very much about intimacy and the innately intimate relationship we have with things that are small: we have to have a different kind of physical relationship with them, we have to get close to them in order to truly examine them. There is a vulnerability in that action that I find really powerful. Details and miniscule things are something I’ve always been observant of and attracted to, since childhood. This interest has evolved and integrated with my arts practice (examining something small has always felt like I’m looking into it, beyond the surface). In ‘Gathering Moss’ (by Robin Wall Kimmerer) Kimmerer talks about moss and other small plants existing in the ‘boundary layer’. I like to think about my paintings existing in that space as well. The boundary is a less examined space: we pass through it. It is a place of becoming. It is where we find the things that aren’t initially noticed, that we subsist on.  Anything that can take advantage of that space (both physically or psychologically) can harness it’s mutability. 

I take photographs of the people in my life and physical surroundings and integrate those images as source material into my paintings. I see the photographs as relatively inert, fixed moments that the paintings reanimate to reveal a sort of ‘soul portrait’. The fact that I have complex relationships with each one of my subjects or source material is an integral part of the meaning behind the process and the outcome of each piece: the paintings are little odes to life in all its myriad forms: the confusion, joy, sorrow and humor that are complexly intertwined. The sculptural forms used are inspired by sci-fi narratives, nature, art nouveau symbology and craft. Their construction and final shape are guided by the respective portrait they incapsulate. They are versions of all that is soft, organic and forming and also inescapably otherworldly.”

— Oakley Tapola


Oakley Tapola is an artist and educator.  She received her MFA from New York University in 2019. Her work has been shown at A. D. Gallery (NYC), Titanik Gallery (Turku, Finland), and Oped Exhibitions (Tokyo, Japan).



Shield with moss and cherries for Oakley Tapola’s Organelle

by Galilee Peaches

Tapola drives a wedge,
a thin point
from fantasy to intimacy,

touched in opaque marks.

You wonder how this ball of gum

is chewed and comes out blue.

Thick tablets strike the floor

a shield with moss
and cherries
overall a vibrant glove.

These are not windows but what comes flying at you from a new dimension
an asteroid, calcified, and then struck

Nothing will fall out
One does not pass through this fly’s eye

only dreams magnified, cracked and shaken.



Seen through a ray
of rigid muslin
two tears are withheld from the eye

a welcome splash
to soak the surface of the prism

forgiving time
and other wishes
for sleep and movement.

This narrow view,

and covered over.
this transparency,
it resists my felt touch

the paper smudged and brushed

is closed to contribution

graphite messages written
to echo form

foreign mirrors facing me

are a match for one.

Ancient tv sets
tuned to ludicrous chatter
we cannot hear their voices
but we are watching their hands move.



An image, embedded in clay, inseparable. To see the painting without it’s coat would be an abandonment. The clay: it’s body, the vehicle. How it got to this world, to rest on this wall. Each alive and generating its own history as one speaks.

Handled so lovingly, palm prints, gouache painted on and washed off. One feels Tapola’s joy in creating a form, the outline against the wall, a punctuation, what can be pressed into it, the surface tender, receptive. Tokens in breast pockets, clutched in one’s palms until shattered.

Each exploratory, memory traveling into myth. A passage. This collection, a deck of cards, collapsing and multiplying into one another. One doesn’t know this world, but feels sure if touched they would find themselves somewhere new.



Galilee Peaches is an interdisciplinary artist who studies the dynamics of intimacy and how it shapes our environment. Through drawing, painting, sculpture and poetry she reflects on the tenderness of the body as it moves through time and space. She received her BFA in Studio Art from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2018. In 2020, she had her first solo show at FOGSTAND Gallery & Studio in Taiwan and completed an artist residency at the Grand Marais Artist Colony. She is currently a 2021-22 Resident Artist at Second Shift Studio of Saint Paul.