Akio Takamori: "Boys"

April 7, 2011—April 30, 2011 | Reception Thursday April 7th 6-8pm

James Harris Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Akio Takamori. The artist has been a seminal figure working in ceramics for more than twenty five years. Takamori’s sculpture has always been figurative, based on the human body and expressive of human emotion and sensuality.

Takamori’s freestanding figurative sculptures are an investigation of cultural identity. The show will consist of two large scale earthenware figures. Monumental in scale and personality, the two sculptures of nude boys have been placed on a catwalk. The installation takes into consideration the architectural space of the gallery by having the two boys parade down a centralized ramp. In Japanese art the term Karako, refers to the depiction children whose function is to not only be metaphor for youth but also act as a foil for age. The ideas of Karako have been an ongoing interest of the artist.

The simplified volume and form of the musculature along with Akio’s painterly glazing echo his interest in classical sculpture of the East and West. The nuance of gesture references Greek Kouros, Renaissance sculpture, and Buddhist sculpture. While creating this work, Takamori was also influenced by photography. Edward Weston’s photograph of his son Neil and a photograph of three boys taken by John Swope, one of the first American photographers to set foot on Japanese soil at the end of World War II, are of particular influence. Takamori continues to push the boundaries of the ceramic medium through his subject matter and scale of the work. All of his works are personal investigation of cross-cultural attitude about family, sexuality, and relationships.

Museum collections include the Henry Art Gallery, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. A mid-career survey exhibition of Takamori’s work, organized by Arizona State University’s ceramics Research Center, toured the United States during 2006.

Boy With Black Shoes, 2011
Boy With Socks, 2011

Akio Takamori

Takamori was a seminal figure in ceramic art, whose work over the past thirty years has left an enduring impact on the Pacific Northwest arts and the medium itself. His work is often autobiographical, drawing on his life in Japan, his family, and mythological themes. He is known for his coil-built figurative sculptures in which the narrative painting defines the form.  Takamori explored themes of cultural identity by engaging the history of Eastern and Western aesthetics. Bold form and color defines his body of work, which is highly expressive of human emotion and sensuality.

Akio Takamori was born and raised in Japan. He has been exhibiting in the United States, Europe and Asia since the mid 1980s. Takamori received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1976 and his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University in 1978.

Takamori’s work is included in numerous collections including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Los Angels County Museum of Art, Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Ariana Museum in Geneva, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including three National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship Grants (1986, 1988, 1992), the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant (2006), and the USA Ford Fellowship (2011). Takamori was a professor of art at the University of Washington. He lived and worked in Seattle.