Takako Yamaguchi

Takako Yamaguchi

Given the fact that most spend their lives swathed in textiles, it’s amazing how dismissively cloth is viewed. Concern for one’s apparel is frequently considered a frivolous feminine purview; garments are treated as utilitarian throwaways to be manufactured in foreign factories. In a fascinating inversion of this paradigm, Takako Yamaguchi meditates on her own raiment via laboriously realistic painting. Representing five years of focus on portraying attire, each of nine paintings in her show at As Is is a cropped, enlarged close-up of a section of her clad body. Small portions of skin peep detachedly from her starring ensemble. Together as an overall installation, Yamaguchi’s pictures enfold the visitor in shrine-like simplicity. Yet larger than life and oddly truncated, each painting appears confrontational, with the artist demanding self-acknowledgment via her frontal posture while entreating the viewer to contemplate the abstract magnetism of fabric in all its geometric minutiae. Echoing their canvas surface, her depicted threads suggest stretched canvas as garments enveloping a human body. Born in Okayama, Japan, a historic hub of textile production, Yamaguchi received her MFA from UC Santa Barbara in 1978. Compellingly interweaving Eastern and Western ideals, Yamaguchi’s compositions embody the Japanese aesthetic of shibui, a kind of understated elegance, while adhering to American principles of abstraction. Fellow painter Catherine Murphy has an adage: “All abstract painting is representational, and all representational painting is abstract.” Familiarly representational and soberingly abstract, Yamaguchi’s paintings succeed on both fronts.

As Is
1133 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Show runs through Feb. 24