Toshio Shibata, Grand Coulee Dam, 1996

        Okawa, 2007

Toshio Shibata, Dam

Artist book

More publications by Toshio Shibata

Toshio Shibata

The photographs of Toshio Shibata convey a powerful drama generated by the conflict of natural forces against man-made structures. Water spills, crashes, glides, and pours over walls, sluices, concrete blocks and channels, in an endless gravity- propelled dance. Huge structures wind around highways and grasp the hillsides on which they are built.  Using an 8 x 10-inch camera, he eliminates most references to scale, placement, and point of view while providing crisp detail and texture. Under Shibata’s eye, the man-altered landscape becomes a mysterious abstract composition in which the shapes and patterns intrinsic to both the natural and artificial forms becomes visible.


Shibata began his career in Japan, and the photographs he made there explore the inherent visual contradictions of a land relinquishing its natural resources to structures meant to contain and preserve them. He was given a fellowship to come to America in 1996, and made extraordinary pictures here that reflect an unmistakable Japanese aesthetic.  His sublime portraits of public works projects in both countries show that human intervention on a pristine landscape need not be jarring but can, in fact, be in exquisite harmony with nature.


Toshio Shibata was born in 1949 and his work has been exhibited internationally since 1971. His work has been collected by major museums including Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Sprengel Museum, Hannover; Centre national de la Photographie, Paris. He will be feted with a mid-career retrospective at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography opening December 13, 2008.


Artworks available as 20 x 24" prints, edition 25, 32 x 40" and 40 x 50" prints edition 10.

Selected Images


Kikuchi City
Kumatoto Prefecture, 1999

Kikuchi City
Kumatoto Prefecture, 1999


Kuroiso City
Tochigi Prefecture, 1989


Otaki Village
Nagano Prefecture, 2005


Takane Village
Gifu Prefectur
e, 2003

Kiso Village
Nagano Prefecture, 2003


Gallery Exhibitions


    Toshio Shibata and Toeko Tatsuno: Given    April 25 - May 25, 2013

    The Abstracted Landscape  Sept 24 - Nov 14, 2009

   Toshio Shibata: Reclamation  March 9 - April 29, 2006

    Toshio Shibata: Falling Waters   March 8 - April 26, 2003



Contact the gallery for additional information regarding Toshio Shibata