According to Yamamoto, her abstract paintings are based on the idea of Shunyata— a Sanskrit word that (she says) refers to the idea that every physical object is an empty vessel containing universal consciousness—which I confess means not a thing to me, even though I am a fan of her paintings. To my eyes, her work (which I first saw a few years ago at the now-defunct Lil' Red Shack) is rooted in a deep pleasure in the pure materiality of paint, which Yamamoto applies and gouges away with a joyful, intoxicating inventiveness. Her canvases engage the traditional big issues of abstract painting—like the reality of the flat picture plane vs. the illusion of depth—but her palette, dominated by aquamarines, pinks, baby blues, and pine greens, has a pop fabulousness redolent of 1950s commercial illustrations. That latent poppiness is more overt in her latest pieces, with their word balloons and other graphic elements, like the thingy in the lower left corner of "Shunyata (Floats)," above, which could be a bunny or a cartoon airplane. Or just another vessel of universal consciousness. Atelier 31, 2500 First Ave., 206-448-5250. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Tues.; 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat.; noon-5 p.m. Sun.
It's your last chance: Andy Goldsworthy is packing up his twigs and leaving town. This wildly popular artist (did you see the lines when his movie played here last year?) who makes delicate, fleeting structures out of leaves and ice and stuff, is, I suspect, a pornographer of nature, a kitschmeister for people who listen to NPR and think they have good taste. I mean, just because it's all-natural doesn't mean it's not corny and sentimental—but I'll be damned if I can resist him any more than the rest of the crowd can. "Mountain and Coast, Autumn Into Winter," which consists of photographs from his 1987 residency in Japan, plus four sculptures of burnt wood and other natural materials, ends Sun., Sept. 19. 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253-272-4258. Every third Thursday free. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.-Sat.; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thurs.; noon- 5 p.m. Sun.