Commonplace: Objects by Barbara Smith and Ryan Takaba

Posted February 5, 2011 in Press Releases

An exhibit asking viewers to reconsider the fleeting moments and objects we encounter everyday

When was the last time you noticed the numerical pattern etched on your set of house keys? Or found yourself contemplating the act of watering your plant when picking up the vase? Many moments in day-to-day life go unnoticed. Artists Barbara Smith and Ryan Takaba seek to illuminate those objects and acts we often overlook in their exhibit at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft on view in the Artist Hall from February 5 – April 3, 2011.

Through repetition and accumulation of handcrafted replicas, metalsmith Barbara Smith creates work that references utilitarian items found in our daily routines. Her piece, Bundles “334”, “1110”, “1125”, and “1915”, compile many tags, like those torn from luggage or clothing, but here are made with copper, sterling silver, steel and vitreous enamel. By mining the commonplace as her source of inspiration, Smith is suggesting viewers reconsider our daily routines and the items that exist in those everyday moments.

While Smith focuses on the repetition of objects to highlight her concepts, ceramicist Ryan Takaba’s work is meant to be physically used and handled to highlight commonplace routines. His ceramic bud vases mount to the wall and are linked together by mums, an everyday flower frequently used in gardening. To sustain the mums, each vase must be carefully refilled daily as it only holds a small dose of water. The delicate nature of each object and its use in a daily process we often overlook allows the viewer to contemplate this mundane activity.

Barbara Smith received her MFA in Metal from State University of New York- New Paltz, where she currently teaches and works as a studio assistant to metalsmith Myra Mimlitsch-Gray. Prior to her MFA she received both a BA and MA from Purdue University. Smith has exhibited in group shows across the country. Her most recent exhibits include Suzanne Beautyman and Barb Smith: In Their Invisibility They Escape at Sienna Gallery, Lenox, MA; No Boundaries, Society of North American Goldsmiths Annual Juried Student Exhibition, The Glassell School of Art, MFAH, Houston, TX; and Extremities: Exploring the Margins of the Human Body, The Jung Center, Houston, TX.

Ryan Takaba received his BFA from University of Hawaii prior to earning his MFA in Ceramics from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Presently, Takaba is a ceramics instructor and the ceramics studio manager at Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, TX. His work has been in numerous group exhibitions across the country, recent solo shows include New Work at Philadelphia Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA; spruce, at G2 Art Sight, San Antonio, TX; and the city at The Green Bean, New Bedford, MA. In 2010 Takaba was names an “Emerging Artist” by Ceramics Monthly.

WHEN: Exhibition Dates: February 5 – April 3, 2011 Artist Talk: Friday, March 25, 5:30 – 8:00 PM (Coincides with the opening of Truth and Transience: Michelle Samour)

WHERE: Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
4848 Main Street in the Museum District
713/529.4848 (

ADMISSION: FREE to the public

Mary Headrick (
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
713.529.4848 x 107