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Toshio Shibata

Five Decades

June 12 – August 16, 2019

Toshio Shibata, Okawa Village, Kochi Prefecture, 2019

Okawa Village, Kochi Prefecture, 2019

Toshio Shibata Okawa Village, Kochi Prefecture, 2019

Okawa Village, Kochi Prefecture, 2019

Toshio Shibata, Okawa Village, Kochi Prefecture, 2019

Okawa Village, Kochi Prefecture, 2007

Toshio Shibata, Kibichuo Town, Okayama Prefecture, 2015

Kibichuo Town, Okayama Prefecture, 2015

Toshio Shibata, Kashiwazaki City, Nigata Prefecture, 2017

Kashiwazaki City, Nigata Prefecture, 2017

Toshio Shibata, Grand Coulee Dam, WA, 2010

Grand Coulee Dam, WA, 2010

Toshio Shibata, Kami City, Kochi Prefecture, 2019

Kami City, Kochi Prefecture, 2019

Toshio Shibata, Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, 2006

Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, 2006

Toshio Shibata, Grand Coulee Dam, WA, 2010

Grand Coulee Dam, WA, 2010

Yamanashi City, Yamanashi Prefecture, 2016

Yamanashi City, Yamanashi Prefecture, 2016

Toshio Shibata, Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, 2006

Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, 2006

Toshio Shibata, Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture  2014

Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture  2014

Toshio Shibata,Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, 2006

Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, 2006

Toshio Shibata Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture, 2018

Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture, 2018

Toshio Shibata Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture 2007

Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture 2007

Toshio Shibata Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 2013

Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 2013

Toshio Shibata, Okura Village, Yamagata Prefecture, 2007

Okura Village, Yamagata Prefecture, 2007

Toshio Shibata, Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, 2018

Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, 2018

Toshio Shibata Okutama Town, Nishitama County, Tokyo, 2006

Okutama Town, Nishitama County, Tokyo, 2006

Toshio Shibata Otaki Village, Nagano Prefecture, 2005

Otaki Village, Nagano Prefecture, 2005

Toshio Shibata, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 2008

Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 2008

Toshio Shibata, Naka Town, Tokushima Prefecture, 2019

Naka Town, Tokushima Prefecture, 2019

Toshio Shibata Obanazawa City, Yamagata Prefecture, 2018

Obanazawa City, Yamagata Prefecture, 2018

Toshio Shibata, Juocho, Hitachi City, Ibraki Prefecture, 2008

Juocho, Hitachi City, Ibraki Prefecture, 2008

Toshio Shibata, Kawachi Town, 1998

Kawachi Town, 1998

Toshio Shibata, Kashima Town, 1990

Kashima Town, 1990

Toshio Shibata, Weir Dam, Sullivan County, TN, 1997

Weir Dam, Sullivan County, TN, 1997

Toshio Shibata, Grand Coulee Dam, 1996

Grand Coulee Dam, Douglas Co., WA, 1996

Toshio Shibata, Grand Coulee Dam, Douglas Co., WA, 1996

Grand Coulee Dam, Douglas Co., WA, 1996

Toshio shibata, Kuroiso City, Tochigi Prefecture, 1989

Kuroiso City, Tochigi Prefecture, 1989

Toshio Shibata, Coolidge Dam, Gila County, AZ, 1997

Coolidge Dam, Gila County, AZ, 1997

Fujiwara Town, Tochigi Pref, 2004

Fujiwara Town, Tochigi Pref, 2004

Toshio Shibata, Hinohara Village, Tokyo, 1994

Hinohara Village, Tokyo, 1994

Toshio Shibata, Gotenba Town, Shizuoka Prefecture, 1996

Gotenba Town, Shizuoka Prefecture, 1996

Negishi, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, 1982

Negishi, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, 1982

Toshio Shibata, Chigasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, 1982

Chigasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, 1982

Toshio Shibata, Zushi City, Kanagawa Prefecture, 1982

Zushi City, Kanagawa Prefecture, 1982

Toshio Shibata, Landscape of Kisofukushima, 1968 ​Oil on canvas

Landscape of Kisofukushima, 1968
Oil on canvas

Toshio Shibata, Surface Material, 1975, ​Silkscreen on paper

Surface Material, 1975
Silkscreen on paper

Toshio Shibata, Untitled, 1975, ​Silkscreen on paper

Untitled, 1975
Silkscreen on paper

Toshio Shibata, Untitled, 1974, ​Silkscreen on paper

Untitled, 1974
Silkscreen on paper

Toshio Shibata, In the Room, 1972, ​Acrylic on canvas

In the Room, 1972
Acrylic on canvas

Toshio Shibata, Untitled, 1971 Oil on canvas

Untitled, 1971
Oil on canvas

Press Release

Laurence Miller Gallery presents TOSHIO SHIBATA: FIVE DECADES, the first American retrospective of this prolific Japanese artist, globally recognized for his photographs of infrastructure within the landscape. The show will encompass his student work in painting and printmaking from the early 1970's; his first forays into photography, exploring isolated structures at night; his pivot into highly abstract black and white photographs of the man-altered landscape; and his transition into color photography, which he continues to pursue to this day.  His early student work and recent landscape work have never before been exhibited in the U.S.

Shibata’s earliest influences are apparent in his student work, especially Jasper Johns’ Map paintings. His early photographs, taken at night in the mid-1980’s, echo the dispassionate point of view articulated by the New Topographic photographers exploring the American West.  By 1990, Shibata had found his true subject - the natural landscape, whose contours and boundaries were re-shaped by man.  Reflecting Japanese values, where man functions in harmony with nature, he used a strong sense of abstraction to capture the flow of water over a dam and the rhythms of concrete placed throughout hillsides to prevent erosion or collapse.  Commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 1996, Shibata travelled across the U.S., and made some of his most powerful works at the Grand Coulee Dam in Douglas County, Washington.

Since 2006, his landscape work has been exclusively in color. It highlights his acute eye for abstraction, coupled with a palette of warm grays, soft greens and jolts of bright red.  And it offers great diversity – the serenity of a string of buoys on the reflective surface of the water; the force of tumultuous waterfall; the bold and dynamic engineering of bridges and dams; or the abstract rendering of elements of the landscape.  Perhaps the most iconic color image is Shibata’s 2007 photograph of a red bridge in Okawa Village,  Kochi Prefecture, Japan.

FIVE DECADES will be Laurence Miller Gallery’s ninth exhibition of Shibata’s photographs, including two-person shows with the painter Toeko Tatsuno and the photographer Yoko Ikeda.

Toshio Shibata was born in 1949 and his work has been exhibited internationally since 1971. He has had solo show at major museums including the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; the Sprengel Museum in Hanover; the Centre National de Photographie in Paris; the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. His work is represented in a variety of museum collections including Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Denver Art Museum: Sprengel Museum, Hannover; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; and Centre national de la Photographie, Paris.

Shibata was given a mid-career retrospective at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in 2008. In 2012, there was an expansive two-person show of his work, alongside the painter Toeko Tatsuno, at the National Arts Center in Tokyo. In 2013 the Peabody Essex Museum mounted a 16-month solo exhibtion of his work entitled Contructed Landscapes which featured 28 of his large scale prints. In 2018 his work was exhibited at the Denver Art Museum as part of their show New Territory—Landscape Photography Today.