Barbara Takenaga (American, b. 1949); Aquamarine, 2005; acrylic on canvas. Collection of Randy Allan Kahn. x1200

Patternings: Ed Epping and Barbara Takenaga

October 28, 2006 - January 7, 2007

The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) presents Patternings: Ed Epping and Barbara Takenaga, a new exhibition that features the artwork of Williams College faculty members and explores the theme of patterns, whether actual or implied. As a college museum, WCMA maintains an annual schedule of exhibitions that feature faculty members, either singly or in groups. Though the projects in this exhibition are disparate projects, the conjunction of the two within one gallery introduces the possibility of confluence and raises some wonderful questions. Are there, for example, patterns at work in matter, whether real or imagined, that relate to patterns of custom such as language or behavior, whether individual or institutional?

Barbara Takenaga’s intricately painted images of abstract patterns seem to evoke either deepest outer space or microscopic inner space—galaxies or electrons. Intricately detailed, her paintings allow viewers to suspend their disbelief even without benefit of specificity. Many of her paintings appear to be in motion as well, capitalizing on the involuntary retinal action of the human eye to certain color and shape combinations. In this way, she depicts a universe on indeterminate scale that appears to be actively expanding before our eyes. Takenaga’s work is shown regularly in galleries and museums across the country—she is Professor of Art in the Art Department at Williams College.

Ed Epping’s work uses a linguistic curiosity as a portal into the heart of artistic practice. The heteronym is a word the spelling of which does not alter even as its meaning and pronunciation change significantly: secreted or appropriate, for example. If something that looks identical can have radically different meanings—as is the case with heteronyms—then the dominance enjoyed by the visual in the domain of meaning is seriously challenged by the importance of context. Epping reveals the power of contingencies and relativities in shaping understanding and communication. The seductive beauty of his art—softly rendered digital prints—lures us like the Siren’s song to the edge of a river. Once there we discover that a river, like meaning, is ever shifting and ultimately more fraught and mysterious than we may have imagined. Epping conceives of this new print series as film stills for a future project he will call “Poise.” The film will center on the three characters, M, W, and A, who make their debut in this exhibition. Epping is the Alexander Falck Class of 1899 Professor of Art at Williams College.

About the Artists

Ed Epping is the Alexander Falck Class of 1899 Professor of Art at Williams College. His work can be found in the permanent collections of Yale University, Stanford University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art Library, the Getty Center, and the Detroit Institute of Art, among others. He has shown his work extensively both locally and regionally, most recently at The Arts Center in Troy, New York, and at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, Mass.

Barbara Takenaga is currently a Professor of Art at Williams College where she has been on the faculty since 1985. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of The DeCordova Museum, The Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina, and the Henry Art Museum at the University of Washington, among others. She has received a number of awards for her work, including two Purchase Awards from the American Academy of Arts & Letters (New York) in 2005. She has shown her artwork extensively nationally and has an upcoming solo exhibition in 2007 at the Gallery Camino Real in Boca Raton, Florida. She is represented in New York by McKenzie Fine Art and in San Francisco by Gregory Lind Gallery.


Barbara Takenaga and John Stomberg, Deputy Director and Senior Curator of Exhibitions, will discuss this exhibition on Friday, November 10 at 4:00 pm at the museum. The Season Premiere Party, which celebrates Patternings: Ed Epping and Barbara Takenaga and the other exhibitions that have opened this fall, will follow at 5:00 pm. Both events are free and open to the public.