Ryan Takaba

Ryan Takaba is a material artist whose sculptures, tableaux, and installations center around the intersection of scientific reason and the power of belief. His work incorporates thematic mediums of flowers, ash, wax, water, porcelain, and wood. He exhibits his work throughout the United States and has participated in residencies at the European Ceramic Work Center – Netherlands, The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen -China, and was awarded a residency through Blue Star Contemporary to live and work at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin -Germany. He is formally trained in the ceramic discipline earning an MFA in Ceramics from Kent State University and a BFA in Ceramics from the University of Hawai`i. Ryan currently lives and works in San Antonio, Texas where he is Ceramic Department Chair at the Southwest School of Art and collaborates on a side project with Jennifer Ling Datchuk to produce a line of functional handmade ceramics under the company Dim and Sum. Growing up in Hawai`i, I spent much of my youth observing my grandparent’s attentiveness to their landscape, a residence that was built on ancient lava rock.
With my grandmother in her 90’s and my grandfather since passed, she now has a much smaller space to tend to. The clippings of flowers she receives from her garden adorn an altar in her bedroom where every morning my grandmother visits my grandfather through daily prayer. I am interested in aspects of daily ritual, specifically in relation to a flower and a vase, the cutting, assembling, and connecting of the mums to complete a composition and the sorting of stem sizes to regulate its flow of water. This process of transformation engages themes of longing, waiting, and return; an image envisioned during my time spent in the “Whaling City” of New Bedford, Massachusetts. The simplicity and elegance of the 19c Whaling era Widow’s Walk is an important architectural detail of the Captain’s home, imbuing a ritualistic and mythical narrative. In this narrative, I imagined a woman performing in silence, this daily walk up a flight of stairs to a tiny rooftop lookout waiting for the return of her captain.

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