Akio Takamori’s ceramic work reflects a long-term interest in matters of the flesh. He often paints blushing red cheeks on his sensuous figures, giving the impression that blood has just rushed to the surface of the skin. His people squat, curl into the fetal position, lie in repose, ride piggyback, stand with arms crossed over their chests and spell out the words “love” and “lust” with their bodies. Though more cartoonish than realistic, the figures nonetheless radiate humanness, inspiring a tactile sort of empathy when an arm clasps a knee, a hand grips a shoulder.
Born and raised in Japan, Takamori began teaching ceramics at UW in 1988, and continued doing so until his retirement last summer. But as it often happens, in retiring he has begun a new sort of engagement. In his current body of work, The Beginning of Everything, Takamori further explores his portrayal of youth as a metaphor for optimism, and dives deep into the iconography of the baby—the nascent human, redolent with mystery and possibility. Through 6/27. Times vary. Free. James Harris Gallery, 604 Second Ave.; 206.903.6220; jamesharrisgallery.com.