I am an object maker. Sometimes I start with an idea.  I’ll objectify it out of a raw material such as steel, bronze, and/or wood.  At other times, I’ll start with a found object, such as an exceptionally beautiful branch which I then incorporate into a sculpture to create a piece that is uniquely mine. This process of creating can occur in a moment or take months to come to fruition. This is the magic of making art.

My art can be categorized into four themes: examining nature, searching for identity, telling stories, and expressing through geometric form.

Examining the natural world I can find endless examples of surprising symbiotic relationships. The process of seeing and discovering inspires me to create forms that capture the essence of our precarious existence on the planet. In these works, I strive to reveal the mystery of humanity’s vital relationship with the environment.

My mother is Japanese and my father is Chinese.  I grew up in a white community that always made me feel like an outsider.  Much of my work serves as a sounding board for questions that I feel compelled to examine and address dealing with my identity.

Classical mythology and folk tales provide rich sources with which to create narrative tropes. Storytelling provides understanding and guidance; it allays our fears and answers our questions.

Seeing a triangle, square, or circle creates an instant gestalt. I like to refer to these basic forms as “the sacred geometry”.  They hold a great visual power that all human beings can understand at a gut level. Think of the Great Pyramids in Egypt; their simple form rivets us with its overpowering grandeur. Think of the unassuming sugar cube; when examined closely with a magnifying glass, its beauty is breathtaking.  And lastly, visualize the circle; it’s a symbol of perfection and union understood around the world.

These themes all ultimately converge to create my art, which I hope proves to be captivating, timeless, and thought provoking.

Born Yokosuka, Japan 1959

Education

1990 MFA, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
1985-87 California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California
1981 BA,  California State University at Fullerton

Professional Experience

1990-1993 Assistant Professor of Art, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX
1993-1995 Assistant Professor of Art, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX

Selected Solo And Two Person Exhibitions

2016
Needles, Labyrinths and Stardusts, Museo de Casa Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico
The Three Elements, Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, TX

2014
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Susan Listerlocke Gallery, Nantucket, MA

2013
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Graficas, Nantucket, MA (also in 2012)

2011
Growing Paradise, collaboration with Piero Fenci, illustrations of poems written by Ann Filemyr (limited edition handmade letterpress book printed by the LaNana Creek Press), Museum of Contemporary Native Art Museum, Santa Fe, NM

2010
Metal Heart, Elizabeth Akamatsu and Lauren McAdam, University of Dallas, Irving, TX

2009
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Texas A&M University at Commerce

2008
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Texas, A&M at Commerce Gallery, Texas

2006
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, South Wharf Gallery, Nantucket, MA
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Tyler Museum, Tyler, TX
New Sculptures, Graficas, Tucson, AZ

2005
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, South Wharf Gallery, Nantucket, MA

2004
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Christine Sanford, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, South Wharf Gallery, Nantucket, MA

2003
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Rick Lewis, Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston, TX
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond,
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, South Wharf Gallery, Nantucket, MA

2002
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, South Wharf Gallery, Nantucket, MA

2001
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Masuru Takiguchi, Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston, TX
Recent Work, South Wharf Gallery, Nantucket, Massachusetts

2000
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Maryann Gelula, South Wharf Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1999
The Rock Garden, Museum of East Texas, Lufkin, Texas
The Garden of Wants, Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston, Texas
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Transco Tower Gallery, Houston, TX

1997
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1996
Solo Exhibition, Louisiana State University, Shreveport,LA
Gestures and Symbols, two person exhibition, Art League of Houston, TX
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Piero Fenci, Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1993
Solo Exhibition, Cameron Universiy Art Gallery, Lawton, Oklahoma
Solo Exhibition, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas
Elizabeth Akamatsu and Kate Borcherding, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX

1991
Solo Exhibition, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX

Selected Group Exhibitions

2017

Old Town Art Splash, public art exhibition, Coppell, TX

Boerne Art al Fresco Public Art Competition, Boerne, TX

Profusion in the Void, TSG exhibition, Artspace 111, Fort Worth, TX

 

2016

The Woodlands Waterway Art Bench, Woodlands, TX

Oak Park Sculpture Walk, Oak Park, IL

18th Annual Art on the Streets, Colorado Springs, CO

Art on Henderson, Dallas, TX, first place

Dallas Art Fair, exhibited by RO2 Art, Fashion Industry Gallery, TX

 

2015

Speaking Silence, Shoal Creek Gallery, Austin, TX

Sculpture on Main Street, Marble Falls, TX

Art Around Town, Carbondale Public Sculpture, Carbondale, CO

2015 Seven State Biennial, Nesbitt Gallery, Chickasha, OK

Yeah It’s Salon Style, Ro2 Artist Group Show, Dallas, TX

Dallas Art Fair, exhibited by Ro2 Art, Fashion Industry Gallery, TX

 

2014

Chaos!!, Ro2 Art Dallas, TX

Dallas Art Fair, exhibited by Ro2 Art, Fashion Industry Gallery, TX

2013
Select Fair, Page Bond Gallery, Miami, FL

2012
Illuminate, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA
Gallery Nord, Encaustic Con 2012, international juried exhibition, San Antonio, TX

2011
Elizabeth Akamatsu, Piero Fenci, and Michael Francis, RO2 Art Uptown Gallery, Dallas

2010
No Rhyme or Reason, RO2 Downtown Gallery, Dallas, TX

2009
Texas Sculpture Association’s Juried Art Exhibition at HCG Gallery, Dallas, TX

2006
Group Exhibition, The Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, TX

2003
Group Exhibition, Elizabeth Edwards Gallery, Palm Desert, CA

2002
Round One, invitational, Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston, Texas
The Nineteenth Annual National Juried Art Exhibition, Warehouse Living Arts Center, Corsicanna, Texas

2001
Assistance League Juried Exhibition, Transco Tower, Houston, TX
Boxes, invitational exhibition, Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston

2000
4 Person Invitational, Acacia Gallery, Gloucester, Massachusetts
Miniatures, invitational exhibition, Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston, Texas
Spatial Expressions, invitational, Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston, Texas
Best of the Southwest, first place, Longview Museum, Longview, TX
Refined II: The Vessel, invitational exhibition, Stephen F. Austin State University, Griffith Gallery, Nacogdoches, Texas
South Wharf Group Exhibition, Nantucket, MA

1999
South Wharf Group Exhibition, Nantucket,MA
Group Exhibition of Fruit, The New Gallery, Nantucket, MA
Invitational Exhibition, the (x) Gallery, Nantucket, MA

1998
South Wharf Group Exhibition, Nantucket,MA
The Figure and the Chair Invitational, Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston, Texas
15th Annual National Juried Exhibition, 1st place, Corsicana,TX

1997
Art Celebration, 5 person show, Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston
Dishman Competition, national juried exhibition, Dishman Art Gallery, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas

1996
Sculpture on the Green, Omni Houston Hotel, Houston, Texas
Dishman Competition, national juried exhibition, Dishman Art Gallery, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas
Regional Craft Biennial, juried exhibition, Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas
The 23rd Annual Juried Competition, Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA

1995
Seductive Surfaces, group invitational, Sally Sprout Gallery, Houston, Texas
Assimilation, invitational, Galveston Arts Center, Galveston, Texas
Dishman Competition, second place, national juried exhibition, Dishman Art Gallery, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas
“12x12x12x95” Small Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, national juried competition, San Jacinto College South, Houston, Texas
29th Annual National Drawing and Small Sculpture Show, first place, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, Texas
Gulf of Mexico Symposium Juried Art Show, Corpus Christi Art Center, Corpus Christi, Texas
Material + Form, juried exhibition, Art League of Houston, Houston, Texas
Faculty Art Exhibition, Sam Houston State University, Gaddis Geeslin Gallery, Huntsville, Texas

1994
The Omni Houston Second Annual Sculpture on the Green, invitational, Houston, Texas
Faculty Art Exhibition, Sam Houston State University, Gaddis Geeslin Gallery, Huntsville, Texas
Member Show, Trammel Crow Center, Dallas, Texas
Materials: Hard and Soft, national juried competition, Meadows Gallery, Denton, Texas
Material + Form, second place, juried exhibition, Art League of Houston,
Houston, Texas

1993
Contemporary Metal: Form and Narrative, traveling invitational, Krannert Art
Museum, Champaign, Illinois/I-Space Gallery, Chicago, Illinois

1992
Faculty Show, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas
Texas Sculpture Association Membership Show, juried, Trammel Crow Center,
Dallas, Texas

1991
The National Sculpture Exhibition, invitational, Deland Museum of Art, Deland, Florida
7th Annual Competition, Lubbock Fine Arts Center, Lubbock, Texas
Sculpture at the Quadrangle Competition, Dallas, Texas

1990
Metals Now, juried, Downey Museum of Art, Downey, California
The Wichita National 1990, Wichita Art Association, Wichita, KS
Excellence ‘90, juried, Plaza of the Americas, Dallas, Texas
Crafts ‘90, merit award, Paducah Art Guild Gallery, Paducah, KY
Conversations, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
40th Spiva Annual Competitive, third place, Joplin, Missouri
Mid-States Craft Exhibition, juried, Evansville Museum of Arts/Sciences, Evansville, Indiana
California Metal Forms ‘90, juried, California Crafts Museum, San Francisco,
California

1989
MFA Thesis Exhibition, Southern Illinois University Museum, Carbondale,Illinois
The Artist’s Perspective, Swen Parson Gallery, DeKalb, Illinois
Illinois Ozarks, Southern Illinois University Museum, Carbondale

1988
Paducah ‘88, Art Gallery, Paducah, Kentucky
Illinois Ozarks, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL
Wearables, purchase award, Associated Artists’ Gallery, Carbondale, IL
Conversations, invitational, Southern Illinois University Museum, Carbondale, Illinois

1987
Exhibition of SIU Graduate Metal Students, Invitational, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa
SIU Metals Exhibit, invitational, National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis, Tennessee
Southern Illinois Women, juried, John A. Logan College, Carterville, Illinois
Holloware 1987, national juried competition, SUNY College, Brockport, NY
National Metals USA, juried, College of Marin, Kentfield, CA

1986
Contemporary Metals USA, national juried competition, Downey Museum, Downey, California

Select Public Collections

Capital One, Richmond, Virginia
Congregation Emanuel, Houston, Texas

Publications

2000
“Creative Jolt Inspirations”, Rose Gonnella, North Light Books

The three vital elements to my work are process, formal balance, and a quest for a personal philosophy.

An important part of my esthetic education came from studying metalsmithing at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  The intersection of appreciation for material with my love of form is what my work is about.  I work directly in wood, steel, bronze, wax, and lead.  My art is focused on structure.  It is open.  It emphasizes welding and connections.

I strive to make my work simple and elegant.  I wed objects together that often appear surreal.  It is the interplay of rhyming forms which suggests a fundamental order in the world, something I find very reassuring.

The theme of culture is addressed in the crucial relationships of elements in my sculpture and how each aspect is inexorably connected to another in an extremely delicate balance.  My cultural memory bank is filled with images from my Japanese heritage as well as those from America, my adopted country.

The mystery of what makes us human has provided an unlimited source of imagery and symbols.  In my recent work there is a concern for ‘the search’, the quest for knowledge, happiness, beauty, and love.  I cast perishable things- fruit, leaves, and plants- in bronze, and then assemble them into dreamlike compositions.  The apple or pear serves as a metaphor for the natural perfection that we, as individuals in a complex cultural context, strive for over the short period of time we are given.  Ambiguous forms, open for interpretation, are juxtaposed with familiar objects much like a Japanese rock garden where the rocks in the sand could appear to be islands in a sea or creatures hunting in a field.

Materials, visual elements, and a quest for answers are combined to suggest that all of life is a complex web of interconnections- a mystery to behold.