Takako Yamaguchi

Takako YamaguchiArtist’s Statement

Although born and raised in Japan, I identify myself as an American artist and, more specifically, a California painter. Thus my work engages with characteristically “Western” themes notwithstanding its sometimes “Eastern” appearance. Indeed, over the last five years my paintings have worked through a range of critical issues traveling, as it were, from the “dialectic of order and chaos” to what I call “abstraction in reverse.”

First were large paintings. on paper with metal leaf (represented here by Objectivity is not Neutrality and Found, Lost and Then Found Again). Inspired by the monumental seascapes of 19th Century European Romanticism, these were equally influenced by the kimono designs of my native land. In this way the dark, destructive (read “masculine”) logic of the Romantic Sublime is complicated by the introduction of decorative elements (read “feminine”), thus forcing the metaphors of chaos and order into equilibrium.

Recent paintings (from Organic to The Weather I The Landscape and That) fall within the same landscape-seascape genre but focus on its basic building blocks-land, sea and sky-which I re-imagine in terms of distinctly human customs such as fabric weaving and hair braiding. A line from the poet Wallace Stevens applies here: “All our ideas come from the natural world. Trees = umbrellas.” These paintings begin with the idea of “abstraction”-in every sense a product of the human imagination-and work backwards from there, searching through the expressions of culture for a fresh understanding of nature, in this way reversing Stevens’ formula so that umbrellas = trees.

Website: takakoyamaguchi.com


Select Solo Exhibitions

Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, New York, NY

Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Hiro Chikashige Gallery, Okayama, Japan

Select Group Exhibitions

Echoes: Women Inspired by Nature, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA

IROHA: Japanese-Angelino Artists, Creative Arts Center, Manhattan Beach, CA

COLA Artist Fellowship Exhibition, Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

LAPD: Los Angeles Pattern and Decoration, Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

L.A. Post-Cool, Museum of Art, San Jose, CA


Gottlieb Foundation Grant

COLA Artist Fellowship


M.F.A., 1978
University of California, Santa Barbara

B.A., 1975
Bates College