Commonplace: Objects by Barbara Smith & Ryan Takaba

February 5, 2011 — April 3, 2011

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? Many moments in day-to-day life go unnoticed. In Commonplace, artists Barbara Smith and Ryan Takaba seek to illuminate those objects and the acts we often overlook.

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”, “1124”, “1125”, and “1915”, mimics tags—like those ripped from luggage or clothing—and is created from more durable and valuable materials: copper, sterling silver, steel and vitreous enamel. By mining the commonplace as her source of inspiration, Smith suggests viewers reconsider their daily routines and the items that exist in those everyday moments.

While Smith focuses on the repetition of objects to highlight her concepts, ceramist 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, a simple flower frequently used in gardening. To sustain the mums, each vase must be carefully refilled daily, as it holds only a small dose of water. The delicate nature of each object and its use in a daily act allow 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 named an “Emerging Artist” by Ceramics Monthly.