By Cate McQuaid Globe Correspondent, September 8, 2021
CONCORD — Lena Takamori’s “Woman with Suitcases” holds one bag in her left hand, another over her right shoulder. Her left hip juts, and she lists to the right. If you’ve traveled, you know her stance — how the body adjusts to the weight it carries.
A nuanced study of women in transit, “Introducing Lena Takamori: In Hand, On Foot,” the artist’s first US solo show, is at Lucy Lacoste Gallery. In these allegorical sculptures, women carry baggage, they stop to rest, they huddle together against the wind. They might be Afghan refugees; perhaps they’re fleeing a climate catastrophe. Or maybe they’re just traveling. One thing is sure: They are not at home.
Takamori, who lives in England, was born in Seattle in 1990. Her father was Akio Takamori (1950-2017), a celebrated Japanese-American ceramicist. Like him, Takamori makes stoneware figures, painting with slips and glazes, sometimes scoring the clay’s surface.
Her father’s sculptures were wry commentaries on the human condition. Hers are smaller (about half the size, at 1 to 2 feet tall) and quieter, more about empathy than commentary. This is a small show, with only seven works. Two landscapes — “Grove View,” an intimate little copse, and “Double Cloud,” with two dramatic downpours rooting clouds to earth — add to the sense that Takamori’s figures are out in the world, moving through the elements.