An abstract painter working in acrylics, Barbara Takenaga is known for her swirling, dot-based paintings of saturated color and undulating patterns. Her simple forms, arranged into dense and detailed composition, radiate and recede in what seems to be infinite space.
Takenaga has been the Mary A. and William Wirt Warren Professor of Art at Williams College since 1985. Her first major exhibition was at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, in 1987, and her work has since has been exhibited at institutions including the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; and the National Academy Museum, New York.
“I still love the idea of the Big Bang,” Takenaga has said of her work. “I feel like I am on this really giant ocean liner and I’ve got this little tiny steering wheel, and I’m turning and turning and turning it, and I’m trying to make a different course for the ship, turning and turning the wheel, and nothing happens. Finally, the thing–me, my attitude, the history of the work, the paintings themselves–because its mass is so big, it starts moving, ever so slowly shifting.”
Takenaga will be in Kalamazoo for a KIA reception June 30, giving remarks at 6:30 pm. She will be joined by Eastern Michigan University alumni Chul Hyun Ahn, represented in an exhibition opening July 2, Reaching Into Infinity.
Barbara Takenaga is the Mary A. and William Wirt Warren Professor of Art at Williams College, a position she has held since 1985. She divides her time between Williamstown, MA, and New York City, where she maintains a studio. Her work has been widely exhibited at institutions including Mass MOCA, North Adams, MA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO; National Academy Museum, New York; Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, PA; and International Print Center, New York.
Takenaga s most recent awards include the Wauson Fellowship from the FOR-SITE Foundation and the Eric Isenburger Annual Art Award from the National Academy Museum. She is represented in the permanent collections of The Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock; The DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA; Museum of Nebraska Art, Kearney; and Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, among others. She was born in North Platte, Nebraska.