(American b. 1947)
Long recognized as one of the important artists who emerged after the creative milieu of the University of California, Davis in the 70’s and 80’s, Takai has become a significant figure in his own right. He created a body of work distinguished by its breadth and personal vision, even though Takai’s work came on the heels of the renowned Northern California “Funk” Movement. Glenn Takai was born and raised in Sacramento, California. He graduated from Sacramento High School and Sacramento City College where he earned an AA degree in the early 70’s. His early studies were not related to the art field, after a brief time of non-structured activities Takai starts concentrating on formalizing his art basics with drawing and watercolor painting classes, later continuing to paint acrylics along with watercolors, he then enrolled in a beginning ceramics class more curiosity then anything else, following the lead of friends and a link to his Japanese culture, it was a turning point for Takai, as pottery began to take over his interest, yet he continued to paint, but after it was pointed out that his ceramics were developing much stronger then painting, Takai turns his full attention to his ceramics. He then goes on to earn a BA and MA from California State University, Sacramento, studying with Peter VandenBurge, Ruth Rippon and David Gilhooly, summer session 78-79, assistant. Takai as a mature artist studied at the University of California, Davis, where he received an MFA. This key institution advanced his ideas of ceramic sculpture. Takai has been making and exhibiting his ceramic art for many years both in the Sacramento region, and nationally. Takai’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Oakland Museum, CA, the Crocker Art Museum, CA, ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center, AZ, the Fuller Craft Museum, MA, American Museum of Ceramic Art, CA also in many private collections.
In Takai’s early work he chose the lizard as a vehicle to navigate his fascination with the mythological art world. His influences are directly rooted in Ancient Civilizations and the Renaissance. Takai’s ceramic figures are a powerful narrative. Each sculpture seems to be capturing an important moment in life, perhaps to ponder it a little longer than is allowed.
The family has been the focus of Takai’s most recent work, an autobiographical narrative that follow the path of three generations of family; his great grandfather the first immigrants, his dad and brother, and Glenn and his two son’s Judd and Tait. The figure is at the center of the work which interacts with other figures and objects that include the landscapes, with images of animals, figures and faces, also abstractions that may include complete narratives. His latest work deals with the loss of his brother, a series dealing with moving on through separation both in life and death. As Takai’s work moves into the future he envisions a broader interpretation on the story of the family.