Abe Motoshi

BIO/CV

b. 1942, Beppu City, Oita Prefecture, Japan

Education
  • 1960

    Graduated Oita Prefecture Midorigaoka High School in Bamboo Crafts

  • 1963

    Joined in his father’s bamboo basket business

  • 1976

    Inherited his father’s business


Exhibitions & Accolades
  • 1976

    Admitted to the Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition for the first time (thereafter admitted 23 times)

  • 1977

    Award winner at the Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition, Western Division (thereafter received 6 awards)

  • 1979

    Award winner at the Japan Flower and Tea Ceremony Articles Craft Arts Exhibition (thereafter received 8 awards)

  • 1980

    Became full member of Japan Craft Artists Association

  • 1982

    Asahi Newspaper Award, at the 29th Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition

  • 1983

    Thirty Year History of Traditional Craft Arts, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

  • 1985  

    Modern Bamboo Craft Arts: Development in Modern Times, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
    Received award at The 2nd Japan Traditional Craft Arts Wood and Bamboo Exhibition (thereafter received two additional awards)

  • 1987

    Solo Exhibit, Tokiwa Department Store, Oita City

  • 1992

    Became Secretary of Japan Traditional Craft Arts Association, Western Division

  • 1993  

    Three-Person Exhibition, Gallery Mochimaru, Yufuin

  • 1994  

    Japan Traditional Craft Arts Association Five Member’s Exhibition, Oita City

  • 1995  

    Became a Director of Beppu Art Association, Craft Arts Division

  • 1996  

    Solo Exhibition, Asakura Humio Memorial Hall, Oita

  • 1997  

    Beauty of Wood and Bamboo World Fair, sponsored by Asahi Newspaper and Japan Traditional Craft Arts Association, Western Division

  • 1998  

    Judge at 8th Japan Traditional Craft Arts Wood and Bamboo Exhibition
    Solo Exhibition, Iwataya Art Gallery, Fukuoka City

  • 1999  

    Judge at 34th Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition, Western Division
    The Classic Japanese Basket, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
    Exhibited at The Hand Workshop Art Center, Richmond, VA

  • 2006

    Demonstrated bamboo basket making at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA
    Power & Delicacy: Master Works of Japanese Bamboo Art, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
    Hin: The Quiet Beauty of Japanese Art, Grinnell College, IA and Chicago Cultural Center, IL
    Beyond Basketry: Japanese Bamboo Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

  • 2012

    Legacy of Inspiration: Shono Shounsai and His Students, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2013  

    Oita’s Art Movement, in partnership with the Oita Prefectural Government, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2014

    Oita’s Art Moment, Japanese American Cultural Community Center, Los Angeles, CA

  • 2017  

    Masterpieces of Japanese Bamboo Art, TAI Modern at Joan B Mirviss LTD, New York, NY


Museum Collections
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
    Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
    Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA
    Beppu City Museum of Art
    Oita City Museum of Art, Oita
    Nikaido Museum of Art
    Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs


ARTIST STATEMENT

My life, as a student of bamboo, began when my father became a bamboo craftsman. When my father was in a fifth grade at primary school, he had osteomyelitis. For his treatment, he moved from a mountain village of Northern Oita to Beppu, and took a career to become a bamboo craftsman in the early Showa era.

I was born in 1942 at Beppu, the home of bamboo growing, and grew up there. I went to Beppu Midorigaoka High School to study bamboo craft. My teacher then was Mr. Shimoda who studied under Master Shono Shounsai, a Living National Treasure of Japan. Meeting with Master Shounsai determined my life. For forty days of my summer vacation during my senior year, I went to study bamboo craft under Master Shounsai. After I finished my high school, I apprenticed him for two years. It was a very difficult two years. Master Shounsai was so great an artist that I felt I was nothing. I felt so inferior and hated myself. It took me well over ten years to get over my feeling. After ten years of struggle, I turned to myself that after all; I can only be myself. Nothing more, nothing less. I assumed a defiant attitude toward myself, of course not to my master.

Master Shounsai passed away in January 1974. “It takes a lot of patience to craft bamboo, so you need a wife with lots of patience.” He said this and introduced me to my wife. I owe great debts, but I could not repay anything to him. Only what my wife and I can do is to pray for the repose of his soul.

I was admitted to Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition for the first time in 1976. Since then, I have met many influential people. Especially, I am grateful for Master Iizuka Shokosai who has been helped me for twenty some years. I learned the foundation of my mental preparation towards my work from him. One can never master everything about the art of bamboo. The more you learn, the harder it gets. I struggle every time to craft bamboo to establish my own style of bamboo art.