September 4 - October 18, 2014
Gregory Lind Gallery is pleased to feature a new series of paintings by Barbara Takenaga. These paintings point to phenomena that are abstract and process-oriented, while still managing to summon a connection with objects and situations that are more literal and localized. In the past, Takenaga’s works tended to be systematic, tightly composed images that used mandala-like radial symmetry which suggested everything from biological processes to cosmic spectacles. Her most recent work is, in contrast, more asymmetrical and loosely constructed. In these pieces, random elements meander and collide in chance encounters, reflecting a trajectory that is individualized rather than predetermined. Variation, ambiguity, and dissonance work together to reveal the possibilities inherent in the basic building blocks of dots, lines, and vibrant color—while still revealing an engagement with undergirding repetitive processes.
In the new work, Takenaga’s “faux Abstract Expressionist” backgrounds of paint splatters suggest compositions that range from obsessive patterning to vast natural landscapes to quasi-apocalyptic scenarios. Enticing the viewer with plays of massive and microscopic scale, the pieces easily move into the formless and conceptual—offering us an iconography of both inner and outer space. For instance, the painting “Aura/Arch” can be read as psychedelic vibrations around a doorway to night sky or the center of a stone geode. “Red Funnel II” can alternately be a tornado, spaceship, or twisted chandelier. The multiple interpretations engage spectators in a viewing experience that enables a single reading of the painting to open a portal into other possibilities.
Repetition of radiating dots and horizon lines evoke motion and energy fields. Opposing methods of “fast work” (throwing and pouring paint over the canvas) and “slow work” (labor-intensive, detailed painting) give us insight into the contradictions and complementary methods inherent in the creative process.
Barbara Takenaga lives and works in New York City and Williamstown, Massachusetts. She is the Mary A. and William Wirt Warren Professor of Art at Williams College. Her work has been exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO; Crocker Museum of Art, Sacramento; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA; and the National Academy Museum, New York. Her work was highlighted in the MIT Press publication Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art Since the 1960s (2010). Takenaga has been featured in publications such as Art in America, Art News, The New York Times, and San Francisco Chronicle. This is the artist’s sixth solo show at Gregory Lind.