Wingate Studio is pleased to announce a new etching by Barbara Takenaga entitled Rising (two blues). The artist completed this three plate aquatint etching in the fall of 2021, her third project at Wingate Studio. She incorporated several intaglio processes, including soap ground, sugar lift and spit bite aquatint.
The artist’s recent paintings are defined by a dichotomy of unrestrained movement and precise detail. Takenaga begins her paintings by pouring paint onto the surface of the canvas and allowing it to organically combine and settle. She then plots her mark making in response to the naturally occurring atmosphere, yeilding detailed compositions that expand, contract and swirl within seemingly infinite space.
The artist approached this print in a similar manner. She began by flicking soap ground from her brush onto the surface of a copper plate coated in water, creating splashes that bloomed and spread in unexpected ways. A field of atmospheric pattern emerged once the plate was dry. Takenaga then hand painted delicate marks over this pattern. The artist gradually added depth by darkening the shadows with spit bite aquatint, and further defining the drawn elements with additional soap ground. The result is an aurora of blue tones is populated by celestial bodies moving upward through space.
Takenaga used the intaglio process, specifically soap ground, to achieve a nebulous, freeform background without preconception. Beforehand, though, she painstakingly hand painted lines to create the crackling foreground. As systematic as this may look, the artist followed what she refers to as a “Zen Surrealist” approach, looking at the lines and waiting for them to tell her where to go next. She has said her work “still seem[s] to naturally gravitate, or maybe anti-gravitate, to some kind of explosive/implosive situation.”
In the studio
About the artist
Barbara Takengaga (b North Platte, NB) was the Mary A. and William Wirt Warren Professor of Art at Williams College from 1985 to 2018. She divides her time between Williamstown, MA, and New York City, where she maintains a studio. Her work has been widely exhibited at institutions including Mass MOCA (North Adams, MA), Museum of Contemporary Art (Denver, CO), National Academy Museum (New York), Asian Arts Initiative (Philadelphia, PA), and International Print Center (New York). Takenaga is the recent recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Wauson Fellowship from the FOR-SITE Foundation, and the Eric Isenburger Annual Art Award from the National Academy Museum. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Ackland Art Museum, (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Arkansas Art Center (Little Rock), The DeCordova Museum (Lincoln, MA), Museum of Nebraska Art (Kearney), and Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation (Los Angeles, CA); among others.