Takako Yamaguchi
I was born and raised in Japan. I came to this country in the summer of 1973 to attend a small liberal-arts college in Maine. I proceeded on to the Rhode Island School of Design, under a Presidential Fellowship in 1975-1976, and received MFA from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1978, which brought me to Southern California. The subsequent move to Los Angeles was imagined as a brief stopover on the way to New York. Instead, Los Angeles has been my home ever since.
I have shown widely in California, in New York and in other American cities. Solo exhibitions of my work have been held in Japan, Berlin and Mexico City. In 2008, I received California Community Foundation/Getty Fellowship Grant for midcareer artists, a Gottlieb Foundation grant in 2006, and a City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship in 2004. My works are in both private and public collections including the Buck collection at UC Irvine, Nola Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, Utah, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada, Long Beach Museum of Art, CA among others.
Project Description
Photorealism emerged in the early 1970s alongside photo-conceptualism, both employing the camera as a tool for making art. Photography has since developed from an economy of scarcity, dependent on specialized equipment and technical expertise that imposed at least some minimal limits on image production, to a condition of surplus or even glut, with “more pictures taken in the last year than in the prior history of photography,” as was claimed sometime after the introduction of the camera phone. My proposal—for which I seek support from the Tree of Life Foundation—accepts the conditions that now apply to the genre of photorealist painting and proceeds accordingly.      
The artworks I showed recently at the Los Angeles art gallery As Is, suggests how this might be done. Each of the nine medium-sized, oil on canvas paintings on view there featured an image of me wearing (or modeling, or perhaps even performing in) pieces of my own clothing—skirt, blouse, coat, dress, etc.—selected according to criterion that is deliberate if not immediately apparent to the viewer. The images are tightly cropped. Always, it is the clothing that predominates, with patches of my skin, where evident at all, relegated to the paintings’ outer edges. Indeed, it may not be the garment at all but rather the fabric from which it is fashioned that is the primary object of study here. If so, this work would be participating in the characteristically modernist dialogue between a work of art and its material conditions when, as they sometimes do, the painted threads of the representation align with the physical threads of its gessoed canvas substrate at a scale of 1:1. 
This last insight is to be developed and made yet more explicit in my next body of work, which will bring the discourses of abstraction and representation into even closer contact with one another. To that end, I will build—or have built—a series of small, shallow bas-relief sculptures in plaster, Foamcore and other white-on-white materials that speak, in a generic way, the abstract and often geometric language of modernist art. A professional photographer who specializes in taking pictures of fine art will properly light and photograph these constructions, as he would any other artwork. The resulting photographic images will then become the basis for my own photorealist oil on canvas paintings that, when completed, will operate simultaneously as white-on-white monochrome abstractions. 
The simple, straightforward appearance of the resulting paintings will undoubtedly belie their elaborate and costly method of production. Support from this grant would, therefore, be instrumental in bringing these new artworks into existence.