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The Life & Work of Glenn Takai

August 21 - September 21

Opening Reception September 7th 2019 – 7 to 9 pm

Glenn Takai was a Japanese American ceramic artist born in 1947. As one of the foremost figures in the funk art movement, his work favors bold colors and loosely-articulated figures. In a move to divert the destructive path he had fallen onto during his teenage years, Takai reached out for some discipline that would support survival and change in the late 60’s. “Art was a thing that I felt could hold my interest, and I needed a focus,” Takai said. “This proved to be a move that would lead to personal development and to a lifelong career in art.”

The discovery of art made Glenn Takai a storyteller of his Japanese/American culture beyond the traditional scope by building narratives not only of his people’s past, but also by creating dreams for his own family’s future. Takai, a third-generation Japanese man, began throwing pots in 1970. It was, he says, a way back to his roots- pots being an important aspect of Japanese culture. Throughout the decade, Takai became the only major student of the famed David Gilhooly. Takai then showed at the early funk gallery, the Candy Store, with Jim Nutt, Robert Arneson, Gladys Nilsson and Maya Peeples. During the 1970s Takai worked to perfect his wheel-thrown forms while focusing much of his attention on surface decoration.  Inspired by examples of of pottery he saw in antique shops, Takai began applying various motifs to his own work: Asian dragons, monkeys, frogs, and his personal icon, the lizard, a stylized adaptation of his earlier dragon imagery.

By the early 1980s, Takai’s exploration with form led him to examine more fully his interest in architecture- especially the architectural remnants of ancient civilizations. Takai was studying the work of funk artists like Robert Arneson and David Gilhooly and this pushed him to delve even deeper into the world of funk art. In the late 90s, Takai himself started his MFA at UC Davis, the very birthplace of funk art. In the following years, Takai oscillated between abstract and representational work. Finding his place between these two styles, Takai found a means of narrating the generational stories he wanted to tell about the men that came before him as well as his two sons. The result is a legacy of narrative sculpture which leaves a marvelous reminder of the artist and his life. Join us for a night of music, art, and wine as we remember the fine work and life of Glenn Takai on September 7thfrom 7 to 9 pm. The exhibition will run from August 21stto September 21st, 2019.


August 21
September 21
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