Yambe Tam (b. 1989, Indianapolis, Indiana) lives and works in London. She earned her MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art in 2018, where she received a Distinction for her dissertation "One Culture", and her BFA in Art History and Painting, Summa Cum Laude, from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2012. Solo exhibitions include "Eternal Return" at Raum Z13, Essen, Germany (2019) and "The Cosmic Ocean" at the Barbican Arts Trust, London, UK (upcoming, September 2019). Selected group exhibitions include "We See You, We Hear You" at the Hospital Club, London, UK curated by Subject Matter, "The Salamander Devours Its Tail Twice" at Gallery 46, London, UK curated by Ashley Middleton Projects, "Cosmic Perspectives" at Ugly Duck, London, UK curated by Lumen Studios, and the "Artworks Open 2018" at the Barbican Arts Trust, London, UK, where she won first prize. Her work has been featured in publications such as Floorr Magazine, the Washington Post, and Beautiful Decay Magazine. In 2019, Tam was awarded a grant by Arts Council England to develop her creative practice. She also received ordination in the school of Soto Zen Buddhism by Donin Minamizawa Roshi, vice-zenji of the historic Eiheiji Temple, Japan.
Tam’s creative practice combines ancient materials with contemporary processes in sculptures and installations that converge the scientific and spiritual. Lost wax bronze casting, mould making, oil painting, gilding, weaving, laser cutting, CNC machining come together in objects that disrupt linear notions of time and space such as wormholes, labyrinths, and voids, revealing invisible structures of reality and bringing one closer to the unknown. With research based in cognitive science, psychology, theoretical physics, and Eastern philosophy, Tam studies the evolution of consciousness, while her personal experience in contemplative practices such as Zen Buddhism directly connects to the work to human experience. Her creations function as metaphysical thresholds or gateways, a divide between non-understanding and understanding, ignorance and awakening, the known and unknown. Experience of the artwork is therefore an experience of passage, one that holds potential for transformation through surrender and transcending the sense of self as one awakens to a higher state of being, a process which bridges the sacred and profane, science and religion, spiritual and bodily experience.