Known for conveying her prophetic take on contemporary life through playful and witty narratives in ceramics, this exhibition celebrates the sculptural and functional work of Joan Takayama-Ogawa. Ceramic Beacon is the first significant survey of this respected Pasadena born-and-based artist’s work thus far. When she decided to take a ceramics course at Otis College in 1986, she found her creative home. She has worked there as an artist and professor ever since. She has developed a language based on color, pattern, form, humor, outrage, and beauty.
Unequivocally and fearlessly spotlighting issues ranging from the housing crisis and fossil fuel dependency, to the pandemic, Internment camps, and human-induced species loss, Takayama-Ogawa makes objects that embody her world view and life experience. She draws the viewer into her intricate sculptures because they are a pleasure to behold. Her toylike reinventions of the miniature figurine and game board are intimate and irresistible sculpture satires. They lure the child in us all to look deeper. Once captivated by their elaborate detail, her work initiates a conversation.
An educator to her core, Takayama-Ogawa’s ceramics visually articulate her beliefs and they inform. She has been a guiding light both for her Otis students and as an artist who sheds light on critical topics. She encourages the viewer to consider, to evaluate, and more so, to act and speak out to make change happen.
Always outspoken and ahead of the curve, Takayama-Ogawa tackles the key issues that define our contemporary society, from the political, to the historical, social, and environmental. Channeling fury into artistic power, she creates works that respond to the most pressing demands of the 21st century.