The Quiet Urgency of Barbara Takenaga’s Paintings

Featured image: Barbara Takenaga, “Cirrus” (2023), acrylic on linen, 24 x 30 inches

Barbara Takenaga has always been a restless artist. Since the early 2000s, she has slowly but continually expanded her process and vocabulary, which has included pouring, chance, pattern, repetition, spheres, and linear marks. In the work of the past two years, however, she has made a major breakthrough. It is not her first breakthrough, but I feel it is the most extensive, elevating her art to a new level of marvelous and engaging complexity. In addition to expanding her formal vocabulary, she has incorporated colors not seen in her previous work, which often relied on closely valued hues. This new territory can be experienced in the artist’s current exhibition, Whatsis, at DC Moore Gallery.

In earlier works, Takenaga found and articulated images almost solely through the process of pouring paint onto a wood surface. Her more recent responses to external sources, which she identifies in works, broadens her range of formal possibilities.

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