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The Glass Art of Hiromi Takizawa

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Uniting glass and emotion, Japanese born Hiromi Takizawa has changed the rules, creating a new paradigm of conduct for heated glass that succumbs to her conscious and her subconscious. Displaying a mastery of the medium, she uses shape, reflection and light to express millennia of Japanese history and decades of personal experience.

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"My art reflects the many multicultural experiences I've been exposed to," says Takizawa. "I exploit light's movement through glass to express my movement through life. In working the medium, my identity and view of the world are transformed from amorphous to concrete, from East to West. For me, the segues from concept to physical form are elative, cathartic, and often revelatory."

Studying her various works, one notices immediately that Takizawa has changed the rules, creating a new paradigm of conduct for heated glass. Her creations remain untethered by convention, immaculate in their imagination, and unstrained by physical boundaries.

In Crossing the Pacific Ocean, which has become one of her signature works, a solemn blue neon airplane is suspended above an ocean of hundreds of tiny glass bubbles, each reflecting the airplane above. The imagery is subtle and mesmerizing, creating feelings of distance, detachment and apprehension.

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Crossing The Pacific Ocean: 2007
 

"I wanted to portray the physical distance between myself and my family in Japan," explains Takizawa. Creating this piece brought to mind the profound feelings of dislocation and isolation in leaving Nagano. But it also expressed my positive feelings in adapting to different American cultures. These experiences became my inspiration for this work. I view it as a cultural self-portrait, expressed through a dominant airplane in the sky and dozens of reflected airplanes heading toward the West--except for one heading East--to memories of home and the culture that nurtured me."

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One Thousand Haloes

Another impressive work, One Thousand Haloes is a physically dominant 30ft x 8ft x 1ft blown glass and wire wall. Here, Takizawa contemplates the power of a halo, the sanctified light that adorns spiritual figures in both European and Asian cultures. Haloes is an ambitious work inspired by the Sanjusangen-dou temple, a 12th century treasure inside the Imperial Court of Japan. Stored in a narrow, 400-foot long room are 1,000 statues of Buddha, each adorned with a halo. It's said that entering the room, one feels suddenly connected to the past, overcome by the ethereal presence of row upon row of hand-crafted statues and the timeless solemnity of their presence. The 1,000 nearly invisible, warm-tinted glass shards of Haloes capture the soul of this moment, creating deific auras on a scale that mimics the temple's beatific presence.

"When I stepped into this room filled with haloed Buddhas, I felt the weight of our history," exclaimed Takizawa. "It was a physical and emotional experience, a hallowed moment that I wanted to capture and define. Representing holiness in both Eastern and Western traditions, I felt I could connect two worlds in a single work that united light and form in a dramatic way."

It was a physical and emotional experience, a hallowed moment that I wanted to capture and define.

Connecting herself with her sibling in Japan, Space in Between suggests a longing across latitudes using glass, neon, wood and metal in an inspiring work. The 12ft x 8 ft x 5ft piece uses a suspension of glass lenses, each reflecting a bright blue neon airplane positioned above the lenses. "The stringed lenses are a metaphor for connecting with my identical twin sister," says Takizawa. "They emote--in space and measure--the 6867.16 miles of Pacific Ocean that separates us." The connection is portrayed as reciprocal, as the reflected images of airplanes float serenely and bi-directionally within each lens.

Living in Southern California, Takizawa was often intrigued by the tons of cargo boxes arriving by boat and crossing our freeways every day. "I always wondered where they came from, where they were headed, and what was inside them," says Takizawa.

Thus came the inspiration for Shipment from California, a marvelously unconventional work of blown glass, neon and wood. "I decided to create my own cargo container and fill it with thin glass bubbles to display a captivating spectrum of colors of light." The amorphous shapes suggestive of giant soap bubbles reveal a delicate intimacy with the medium. Seldom has fused sand revealed so much artistry.

Sometimes Takizawa's art tends toward the whimsical. In Fly Away, one of her most recent works featured at the Box Gallery in Costa Mesa, Takizawa playfully transforms a popular party icon into unexpected permanence—creating glass balloons that one feels compelled to touch. Tiny figures, birds and trees, hanging on strings of each balloon complete the journey into the artist's imagination. The ability to drift upward at wind's whim is locked forever in the mind's eye of this clever ensemble. Like Takizawa's other works, Fly Away demonstrates that feelings and emotions needn't be fleeting if one has the vision and talent to capture them.

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Make a house a home: 2014
 

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Shipment from California: 2009

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Mirage

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Ultraviolet: 2013

Born and raised in Nagano, Japan, Takizawa was inspired as a child by artists in Kyoto. Later she tried working in glass and it became her passion. She attended California State University, Fullerton where she earned a BA and MA, followed by a recently earned MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, VA. She has also studied at Santa Ana College, California State University, San Bernardino, Pilchuck Glass School, The Studio at The Corning Museum of Glass and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, including a solo exhibition at Heller Gallery in New York and a group exhibition at S 12 Galleri og Verksted, in Bergen, Norway.

- Words By Alex A. Kecskes

All Images Courtesy of Hiromi Takizawa

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