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Gallery Visit — Kaori Takamura

FullSizeRenderKaori Takamura,
In foreground: Garakuta Boxes

On wall: DOTS

Upon entering Mesa Arts Center’s North Gallery, you are greeted with a joyful explosion of color and pattern. Energy seems to vibrate off the white walls in Kaori Takamura’s newest exhibit, Patched.

Kaori Takamura’s graphic paintings and constructions at first glance seem to be constructed quilts with printed fabric, but are in actuality machine-stitched silkscreened images on canvas. Takamura is inspired by American hand-made quilt-making and embroidery traditions. She borrows iconic traditional Americana patterns, along with updated symbols found in signage, typography, and modern fabrics to good use. By patching together cut up colorful canvas bits, she tells her layered story as an Arizona-based, Japanese-born artist.

On close inspection, the viewer notices that the colored threads connecting the canvas scraps are frayed and fall loosely, while the silkscreened images are not always crisp and clean. Even though the fragmented pieces are securely sewn, and the printmaking assured, the impression strived for is one of an intentioned tangled patchwork of thoughts and ideas. While referencing crafting traditions, she uses machines to sew and does not sentimentalize or feel nostalgia for time-consuming hand sewing. Her ideas are about her world today.

Kaori Takamura has an accomplished background as a packaging designer, and she is keenly aware of how commercial art works by drawing people in, and keeping them interested. At the same time, she continues the tradition of American women who tell their stories with hand-made crafts for future generations.

Not only is that combination of ideas interesting, but also historically, both traditional women’s handicraft, and graphic design are often times not taken seriously by the art world at large. Her work equally gives respect to the woman craft makers, such as the quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend, while being inspired by graphic and poster designers like Ikko Tanaka. Takamura’s confidence in combining craft and the commercial arts brings a pure and strong beauty to her work.

KaoriBWKaori Takamura,
American Quilt Rail fence (BK3013), 30” x 36”

To enhance your experience of this exhibit, I recommend heading over to the Project Room of the Mesa Arts Center to see the work of Maggy Rozycki Hiltner. Her room-filling embroidery installation, Vantage Point, is an interesting companion to Takamura’s patchwork paintings. In addition, (former commercial artist) Andy Warhol’s Portraits at the Phoenix Art Museum show is a terrific way to see a pop master’s influence on contemporary artists.

12 Women Artists in their Studios – Bend, Oregon

Where does the creative magic happen? Artist studios aren’t always public so it can be hard to get a glimpse into their work spaces. Culture Seen got an exclusive look into the studios of 12 women artists living and working in Bend, Oregon. I bet you didn’t realize Bend had an amazing art community. The community is known for beer and tourism but creativity is flowing through the veins of this small mountain town.


Lubbesmeyer Art Studio in Bend Oregon

Lubbesmeyer Studio

Twin artists collaborating in fiber, acrylic and oils.


Katie Daisy in her studio

Katie Daisy

Watercolor & Acrylic painter


Photographer Amy Castano in her Studio

Amy Castano

Photographer & Graphic Designer


Karen Eland Coffee & Beer Painter

Karen Eland

Coffee & Beer Painter  |


lloyd mcmullen studio

Lloyd McMullen

Scavenger/artist: two- and three-dimensional mixed media paintings/found object sculptures. Creator of Castaways clothing: refashioned clothing from unwearable knitwear/worn out vintage clothing. ”Saving the planet — one ugly sweater at a time”.


Maeve Grogan in her studio

Maeve Grogan

When asked what her medium is: “I create work that arises from God knows where… really, not a clue, and that is the fun part… I start working with my materials and then something sparks or tickles or urgently requests that I give it a go.  I usually meditate a bit before the studio day begins, but from there things often get challenging.  A teacher I had once said to just “pay attention” to every inch of the work, and I find that true.  I want to make work that is enlivening for the viewer, not just a mental construct, so, the challenge, in my process, is to stay awake to what is emerging.”


MaryLea Harris in her studio

MaryLea Harris

MaryLea is a painter that explores color, texture, and line with nature as my main subject matter. I paint whimsical and colorful trees, leaves, and bird nests.


Larissa Spafford in her studio at The Workhouse in Bend, Oregon

Larissa Spafford

Lampwork Glass Bead and Jewelry Artist


Cari Dolyniuk in her studio

Cari Dolyniuk

Proprietor and Director of The Workhouse


Lisa Marie Sipe in her studio

Lisa Marie Sipe

Acrylic Painter & Sculptural Encaustic Artist


Marianne Prodehl in her studio

Marianne Prodehl

Jewelry Designer for Junk to Jems


Natalie Mason in her studio

Natalie Mason

Fabric Designer
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