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Nationally Renowned Ceramicist to Open Hartnell Gallery Season

August 17th, 2007

The works of one of America's most exciting and widely respected ceramic artists will be on view at The Hartnell College Art Gallery beginning September 10.

The exhibition, “Echoes of the Earth: Ceramics by Toshiko Takaezu,” runs from September 10 through October 18, 2007.

Photo of 3 of Takaezu’s ceramic forms.

Takaezu’s ceramic forms push the limits of the clay vessel beyond the realm of utility into the world of pure art. The signature closed forms boast diverse and exquisite finishes, from vibrant matte glazes on porcelain to more subdued smoke effects on stoneware in the Japanese anagama tradition. The sculpture forms and their surfaces are like abstract impressionist paintings, evoking visceral, almost primordial, responses.

Takaezu has been called America’s greatest female ceramic artist. She has worked in clay for more than 40 years. Born in Hawaii of Japanese descent, her work combines Eastern and Western aesthetics.

Inspired by nature, her Buddhist upbringing, and her Zen training, the artist’s work reflects ideals of restraint, interconnectedness, and continuity. Her work is ageless and ancient, yet distinctly modern. Takaezu says, "In my life I see no difference between making pots, cooking, and growing vegetables. They are all so related. However, there is a need for me to work in clay. It is so gratifying and I get so much joy from it, and it gives me many answers in my life.”

Takaezu taught art at Princeton University for 25 years. Her work is in the collections of more than 20 museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Renwick Gallery, the Smithsonian, and the National Museum of Bangkok. Thailand. Toshiko Takaezu: The Earth in Bloom, a 150-page photography book by J. Stanley Yake was published last fall.

Gary Smith, director of the Hartnell College Gallery, was pivotal in bringing this work not only to Hartnell but also to the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, where these 34 pieces recently have become part of the permanent collection. He met Takaezu when he was an art student in 1970, and returned for a visit to her East Coast studio last fall. The conversation eventually turned to collecting, as the Crocker had an early example of her work. Takaezu’s quiet musings about whether the Crocker might like to add a later example led, ultimately, to the present exhibit.

The Hartnell Gallery exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Monday through Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m.

This exhibition was organized by the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. For more information, please contact Gallery Director Gary Smith at 831-755-6791.