Mitsuo Shoji

Mitsuo Shoji (b. 1946)

When ceramic artist Mitsuo Shoji talks of his boyhood attraction to fire and burning, his face is transformed by impish glee. It is obvious in his work, and the joy with which he describes his life’s journey, that Mitsuo has found, and continues to pursue, his vocation.

Not that there was a natural attraction to ceramics in the first instance: Mitsuo describes his choice of Kyoto University of Fine Art Ceramics Department as driven by a distaste for the life of the ‘salaryman’ and a search for something different and ‘undemanding’. The ceramics department had the least number of students so that was the choice.

The deeply traditional heritage of Kyoto had a significant impact on the boy from Osaka: “I was born and grew up in Osaka – a city boy. I thought I was not interested in traditional culture. I always wanted new stuff. The first time I visited Kyoto, only a half an hour away by train, at the age of 20 years old- I was hooked! I think I could learn what  a good culture means.”

This ‘good culture’ is expressed and reinvented in Mitsuo’s contemporary practice: Vessels of luminous glazes enhanced with crushed glass and reflecting the flow and energy of the sea; vessels emboldened with the sweep of calligraphic energy; elegantly powerful hand built sculptural forms giving body to elements of Shinto and Zen spirituality; and unique mixed media paintings.

It is in Mitsuo’s paintings that we see the flowering of years of professional dedication merge with his desire “to do new stuff and also challenge myself to create something new from traditional ceramics techniques”. Mitsuo’s paintings emerged from his ceramic practice. The random patterns of materials- slip and foil- on boards recording the details of ceramic firings suggested landscapes and were the catalyst for experimentation: “I wanted to create my own technique which is entirely my own. It has become my own language, but it can communicate with other people visually. I am using the essential elements of fire and alchemy in these paintings, plus my fascination with texture and colour.”

At the peak of an acclaimed international career, Mitsuo’s work embraces its origins and pays tribute to one man’s search for perfection and originality. It encapsulates his boyish love of fire, the ‘good culture’ of Japan, his 39 year illustrious teaching career in Australia and above all, invites us all to share in the discovery of beauty.

1946   Born Osaka, Japan
1971   Graduated Bachelor of Arts and Teaching Certificate Kyoto City University of Fine Arts, Japan
1973   Completed Master of Fine Arts, Kyoto City University of Arts, Japan

Solo Exhibitions
1974   “Mitsuo Shoji Ceramics” Craft Centre, Melbourne
1977   “Ceramics Objects” Nakamiya Gallery, Osaka, Japan
1977   “Wet Clay Installation” Iteza Gallery, Kyoto, Japan
1979   “Pottery Works” David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney
1980   “Potter Works” Victor Mace Art Gallery, Brisbane
1980   “Clay Work” John Clark Gallery, University of N.S.W., Sydney
1981   “Black Fire & Clay Painting” Blackfriars Gallery, Sydney
1982   “Mitsuo Shoji’s Ceramics” Gryphon Gallery, Victoria State College, Melbourne
1984  “Objects – Painting – Installation” Canberra School of Art Gallery, Australia
“Objects – Painting – Installation” Shepparton Art Gallery, Victoria.
“Mitsuo Shoji’s Ceramics” curated by Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston, Tasmania, funded by Crafts Board, travelling to the following galleries: Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston, Burnie Art Gallery, Burnie, Tasmania Craft Council Gallery, Hobart
1985   “Recent Pottery by Mitsuo Shoji” Aladdin Gallery, Sydney, Australia
“Japanese Contemporary Ceramics, Mitsuo Shoji and Satora Hoshino” Lake Macquarie Art Museum and Gallery,
1986   “Pottery – Recent Works by Mitsuo Shoji” Cooks Hill Art Gallery, Newcastle, Australia “Black Fire and Ceramics Painting” Device Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
“Recent Ceramics by Mitsuo Shoji” Victor Mace Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
“Colour Inlay Ceramics by Mitsuo Shoji” Australian Craft Work Gallery, Sydney
“Colour Inlay Ceramics by Mitsuo Shoji” Cuppacumbalong Craft Centre Gallery, Canberra
1987   “Colour Inlay Ceramics and Painting” Bonython Meadmore Gallery, Sydney, Australia. “Mitsuo Shoji – Glass installation and Ceramic paintings” Roz MacAllan Gallery, Brisbane,
1987-89   “Four Aspects of Contemporary Japanese Ceramics”. The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto Japan Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle
Meat Market Craft Centre, Melbourne
Shepparton Art Gallery, Shepparton
Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney
Canberra School of Art Gallery, Canberra
Wagga Wagga City Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
Queensland Art Gallery
Organized by the Newcastle Region Art Gallery in conjunction with The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. Sponsored by the Australia Council and the Japan Foundation.
1989   “Mitsuo Shoji Ceramics and Glass Objects”. Sponsored by New Zealand Potters Society and Waikato Museum of Art and History. Waikato Museum, Hamilton, New Zealand.
“Mitsuo Shoji Ceramics Sculptures and Paintings” Irving Sculpture Gallery, Sydney
1990   “Travail en Cours” Art Gallery at Ecole d’Art, Aix-en Province, France
1991   “Recent Mitsuo Shoji Pottery with Traditional Manners” Cooks Hill Gallery, Newcastle
1992   “Mitsuo Shoji Ceramics”. Sponsored by Kinki Nippon Railway Company, Asaki
Broadcasting Company and Australia Council, A.B.C. Art Gallery, Osaka, Japan
1995   “Mitsuo Shoji recent work “ Cook Hill Gallery, Newcastle,
1997   “Ceramics Paintings by Mitsuo Shoji “ Japan Foundation Gallery, Sydney
“ Shinsho Fukei “ Chifley Plaza Centre, Chifley Square, Sydney
2000   “MITSUO SHOJI – Is our life a Square, Circle or Triangle ? “, Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney
2002   “ Is Our Life Circle, Triangle or Square ? Green Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
“ Mitsuo Shoji recent work” Pymble Ladies College Gallery,
2003   “ Mitsuo Shoji “ Yamaki Arts Gallery, Osaka, Japan
“ Mitsuo Shoji “ Boutwell Draper Gallery, Sydney
“ Ceramics by Mitsuo Shoji “ Meitetsu Department Art gallery, Nagoya, Japan
2004   “ Here and There” – two person show, Fusion Gallery, Brisbane.
2006   ‘ Landscape Mindscape’ Marianne Newman Gallery, St Leonards, Sydney, and Cudgegong Gallery, Gulgong, NSW
2008   Mitsuo Shoji recent ceramics painting, Sydney College of the Arts gallery
PLC School, Pymble, Sydney, ‘Mitsuo Shoji recent work’
2009   “ Language, Symbolism – Abstraction” Cudgegong Gallery, NSW
2010   “ Between the Language and the Form” Japan Foundation Gallery in Sydney
2011   MITSUO SHOJI, Depot Gallery, Danks Street, Waterloo, NSW
2011   MITSUO SHOJI Lost Bear Gallery, Leura, NSW
Mitsuo Shoji Ceramics and Paintings, Peacock Gallery, Auburn
2012   Coming Home, Lesley Kehoe Galleries, Melbourne, Australia

Group Exhibitions
1970   “Kyoto Crafts Exhibition” Kyoto City Art Museum, Kyoto
“Kyoto Art Exhibition” Kyoto City Art Museum, Kyoto
“Japan Contemporary Craft Exhibition” Takashimaya Department Art Gallery travelled in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo
“Japan Export Ceramics Competition” Travelled Art Galleries and Museum in followingcities – Kyoto, Nagoya, Gifu, Osaka, Fukuoka and Nagasaki
“Seven Men’s Ceramics” Gallery Nakamiya, Osaka
1971    “Kyoto Crafts Exhibition” Kyoto Craft Centre, Kyoto “Kyoto Art Exhibition” Kyoto City Art Museum, Kyoto
1971    “Ceramica 1st Exhibition”. Set up the Ceramics Group called Ceramica” Gallery Sonezaki, Osaka
1972   “Ceramica 2nd Exhibition” Kyoto Craft Centre Gallery, Kyoto “Ceramica 3rd Exhibition” Nakamiya Gallery, Osaka “Ceramica 4th Exhibition” Gallery Ao, Tokyo
1973   “Ceramics Boxes” The Craft Centre, Melbourne
1974   “Bendigo Ceramics Show” Hawthorne City Gallery, Melbourne
1975   “Craft Alive – Craft Victoria 75” A survey of contemporary Victorian crafts. National Art Gallery, Melbourne.
“Mitsuo Shoji’s Ceramics” Bonython Gallery, Sydney
1977   “Seven Men’s Ceramic Show” Imabashi Gallery, Osaka, Japan
“Clay and Glass Conference Exhibition” Market Place Gallery, San Francisco, U.S.A. 1979
“Australian Ceramics” Selected work for Australian Ceramics touring show to Europe
“Mayfair Ceramics Exhibition” Craft Council Gallery, Sydney
1981   “Mayfair Ceramics Exhibition” Meat Market Art Gallery, Melbourne
“Sydney College of the Arts and City Art Institute – Ceramics Staff Exhibition, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Alexander Mackie College l982 “Image and Origin” Australia Craft Council Gallery, Sydney
“Recent Australian Ceramics” Wollongong City Gallery, NSW
“Concorso International Della Ceramics” International Ceramics Gallery, Faenza, Italy.
“International Raku and Smoked Fire Exhibition” Galerie le Uzes, France.
1983   “A Different Perspective – Opening Show at Art Space” Art Space Gallery, Sydney
“New Directions” 3rd Australian Potters Conference, Jam Factory Craft Centre, Adelaide, SA “Clothes and Clay” Exhibition, Orange Arts Festival Orange Regional Art Gallery, Orange “Ceramics Show” Penrith Art Gallery, Penrith NSW.
“Ceramics – Objects and Figures” University of Tasmania Art Gallery Travelling Show in Tasmania “New Directions” Distelfink Gallery, Melbourne
“Project 43” New South Wales Art Gallery, Sydney
1984   “Sculptors Craftsmen” Meat Market Craft Centre, Melbourne, Victoria.
“Australian Decorative Art in the Past Ten Years” Australian National Gallery, Canberra, ACT.
1985   “Common Earth Alive Unfired” The University of Tasmania Fine Arts Gallery
“Impulse and Form” Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
“Art Works Glass” Craft Council Gallery, Sydney
1986   “View of Points” Meat Market Craft Centre, Melbourne, Vic.
“Presentation Pieces” Potters Society Australia Gallery, Sydney.
“Earth Plastics” The Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery
l988   “20 x 20 Craft in Society 1980-1990” Craft Council Gallery, Sydney, Touring in major galleries in NSW.
“First International Craft Symposium, Ceramics Exhibition” Solenda Gallery, Canberra, ACT, Victoria National Gallery, Melbourne
“Mitsuo Shoji, Milton Moon, Jeff Mincham” Bonython Meadmore Gallery, Sydney
“2nd National Ceramics Awards Show” Canberra School of Art Gallery, A.C.T.
1990   “International Ceramics Invitational” Kansas University Art Gallery USA, Emporia State University Gallery USA, Central Park Gallery USA, Kansas Western University USA
1991   “Brown – 1970’s Ceramics from the Shepparton Art Gallery” Shepparton Art Gallery, Touring major Victorian galleries.
1992   “3rd International Ceramic Invitational Symposium Exhibition” Poland
1993   Australia Ceramics Conference Participant’s Exhibition, University of Adelaide
“Fresh Clay : Australia”, Meat Market Centre, Melbourne
1994   Fletcher Challenge Ceramics Award, Auckland Museum, New Zealand
The Bechyne International Ceramics Symposium Exhibition, Louny Czech. Republic
International Ceramics Academy Members Exhibition Museum of Decorative Arts Praha, Czech Republic.
1995   International Ceramics Symposium “ Clay- Sculpture, Gulgong “Gulgong, N.S.W
“ Panavezys International Ceramic Symposium Exhibition “ Art Gallery, Panevezys, Lithuania
“ Australian Contemporary Ceramics Exhibition” Faenza Concorso International Ceramics Exhibition, Faenza, Italy then travelled to Japan and Singapore
“ From Strength and Hope “ for Amnesty International. Art Space, Sydney, Casula Powerhouse, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery
1996   “ The Beer Van Gogh 1996 “ Gallery Chika, Tokyo Japan
“ Posio Pot 96 “ International Coffee Cup Museum, Posio, Finland, Traveling exhibition in Finland
“ Delinguent Angel” Australian Historical Aboriginal and Contemporary Ceramics, National tour- Northern Territory Museum “ Object of Desire “ Grosverna Place, Sydney
1997   “ IN-Context” Manly Art Gallery , Sydney
“ Home Brand ” Casula Powerhouse, Casula, N.S.W
1998   “Salad Days” The Ceramics Art Gallery, Sydney
“ 67 sculptor working to a brief ” Deiance Gallery, Sydney
MCA ART AUCTION Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
“ Clara Hali Bronze sculptures and Mitsuo Shoji Paintings” Wollombi Forge Gallery, Wollombi, N.S.W
1998   Group Ceramics exhibition “random” with other 6 ceramists who are our ex honours and master students, New space gallery, Sydney – Work title ‘ Landscape – Wind ‘
“ Millennium Plate Show “ Ceramics Arts and Perception Gallery, Sydney – My work title is “ For New Wind “
SOFA International Exposition of Sculpture Objects & Functional Arts Chicago, USA .
“ Bomba “ Qdos Gallery, Lorne, Victoria, Title : “Universal Thought
1999   “ Friends at the Edge “ Gallery East “ Fremantle, W.A
“ Icarus as Metaphor “ Goulburn Regional Art Gallery. Then touring regional Art Galleries, Campbelltown City Art Gallery, Bathurst Gegional Art Gallery, Mildura Arts Centre, Sheppaton Art Gallery, New England Regional Gallery, Regional Art Museum, Moree Plains Gallery, Toowoomba, Gladstone Regional Art Gallery& Museum, Tweed River Regional Art Gallery.
2002   Material Culture : aspects of contemporary Australian Craft and Design‘ at the National Art Galley, Canberra.
‘ Weapon “ at Kecskemet Ceramic Centre. Kecskemet, Hungary.
2003   “Satisfaction “ Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery. Then touring New England Regional Art Museum, Sturt Galley, Mittagong, Craft ACT, Canberra, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Gymea, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Cairns Regional Galley, Shepparton Art Gallery.
2004   “ Celebrating the Masters 1 “ Skepsi Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria“
“ Vessel : diverse “ Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney
“ The Hollow and the Whole” The Delmar Gallery, Sydney
“ Sightseeing “ Centre of Academy of Fine Art, Beijing, China
2005   “ Forty” Object Gallery, Sydney
“Collection” Green Gallery, Auckland,NZ
“ Sightseeing “ The Sydney College of the Arts Gallery
2006   “ Sea Edge Lands Edge” Cudgegong gallery Gulgong NSW,
Jingdezhen International Ceramic Masters Exhibition, Jingdezhen, Ceramic Museum, China
2007   “Mitsuo and Christine Shoji” Yamaki Gallery, Osaka, Japan
2008   ‘Journeys’ Marianne Newman gallery, Mitsuo and Christine Shoji recent work .
2009   ‘Windows on Pain’ touring exhibition and auction, May- July
2011   Mark Making, Sabbia Gallery July-August. Sydney

1976   City Art Exhibition 1st prize Yomiuri Press Award, Osaka, Japan 1982 Hunters Hill Craft Award, Sydney, Australia, Also : 2006, 2007.
Purchasing Award, Faenza International Ceramics Show, Faenza,Italy
1986   Castlemaine State Festival, Southern Cross TVB Award
1988   2nd National Ceramic Award, Canberra, A.C.T.
1994   International Ceramics Competition, Fletcher Challenge Ceramics Award – Premier Award, Auckland, New Zealand.

Public collections (Australia)
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, WA;
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Qld;
Victoria and Albert Museum, Launceston, Tasmania
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT;
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Vic.;
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, NSW
Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney, NSW
Art Bank, Sydney, NSW
Parliament House, Canberra , ACT
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Qld;
Shepparton Art Gallery, Shepparton, Vic.;
Tasmanian Art Gallery and Museum, Hobart, Tas.;
Victorian State Craft Collection, Melbourne, Vic.
Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle, NSW
Macquarie University, Sydney,
Melbourne State College, Melbourne, Vic
School of Art, Brisbane , Qld
Arrarat Art Gallery, Arrarat, Vic.;
Manly Art Gallery, Manly, NSW

Public collections (International)
International Ceramics Museum, Shigaraki, Japan;
Total Art Museum, Seoul, South Korea
Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche, Faenza, Italy;
Fletcher Challenge Collection, Auckland, NZ
Museum of Art and Design, Helsinki, Finland;
The International Coffee Cup Museum, Posio, Finland
International Ceramics Collection, Panevezy Art Gallery, Panevezy, Lithuania
Umeleckoprumyslové Muzeumv Praze, Prague, Czech Republic.
The Bechyne International Ceramics Museum, Bechyne, Czech Republic
The Art Museum, Walbrzych, Poland
Dokuk Eylul University, Izmir, Turkey
Memphis Academy of Art, Memphis, Tenn. USA
California State University, San Jose, Ca. USA
University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA


Mitsuo Shoji
Lesley Kehoe