Ryan Takaba is a material artist whose sculptures, tableaux, and installations are centered around a study of landscape and architecture, which he credits as the product of his childhood in Hawai’i. His work incorporates thematic mediums of flowers, ash, wax, water, porcelain, and wood. In 2005, he received his MFA in Ceramics from Kent State University and BFA from the University of Hawai`i in 2000. He has participated in residencies in Europe and Asia and is currently the Ceramic Department Head at The Southwest School of Art in San Antonio.
Growing up in Hawai`i, I spent much of my childhood observing my grandparent’s attentiveness to their landscape, a
residence built upon ancient lava rock. My memory of this place holds a mythology of its own, a vast landscape
imbued with beauty and power, but in reality, it was a humble garden outside a 1940’s bungalow. When my
grandfather passed, my grandmother tended to a smaller garden and visited him every morning through daily
prayer. A prayer involving lighting a candle, burning incense, and arranging fresh flowers.
My studio practice stems from my research in landscape, architecture, and design looking to my grandmother as a
source to investigate how objects are used, cared for, and honored. I am interested in the arrangement of these
objects, and through their use, meaning and the composition can change over time. My practice is performative and
durational, attending to the pieces daily through the length of a show. In some works, I cut, assemble, and connect
flowers to complete a composition, and sort stem sizes to regulate its flow of water. I light candles to use heat to
break wax patterns, and I burn incense to mark the wall and cascade ash. This act engages themes of longing,
waiting, and return.