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Sojourn in Japan: Paul Caponigro and The Beauty of Use: Three Generations of the Hamada Family


  • Pucker Gallery 240 Newbury St, 3rd floor Boston United States (map)

Public Opening

Saturday, 8 June 2019, 3:00PM - 6:00PM.
Both artists will attend the public opening. Kindly RSVP to the event on Eventbrite.com.

Artist Biographies

Paul Caponigro is renowned as one of America’s most significant photographers. At the age of thirteen, he began to explore the world around him with his camera and has subsequently sustained a career spanning six decades. Acclaimed for his spiritually moving images of Stonehenge and other Celtic megaliths of England and Ireland, Caponigro has also photographed the temples, shrines, and sacred gardens of Japan, and inspires viewers with glimpses of the mystical woodland of his native New England. Approaching nature receptively, Caponigro prefers to utilize an intuitive focus rather than merely arranging or recording forms and surface details. An unparalleled ability to engage the viewer in the mystical presence concealed in nature continues to leave a lasting contribution to photography. Currently, Caponigro has exhibited and taught throughout the United States and abroad. As a recipient of two Guggenheim fellowships and three National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants, in 2001 he received the Centenary Medal from the Royal Photographic Society in recognition of his significant contribution to the art of photography. Caponigro’s images are included in most history of photography texts and numerous museum collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Shoji Hamada was one of the most influential potters of the 20th century. Hamada graduated from Tokyo Technical College in 1916 and enrolled at Kyoto Ceramics Research. During the years from 1919 to 1923, Hamada travelled extensively to learn about diverse ceramic and folk craft traditions, and built a climbing kiln in England at St Ives with Bernard Leach (1887–1979). In 1952, Hamada travelled with Soetsu Yanagi (1889–1961) and Bernard Leach throughout the United States to give ceramic demonstrations and workshops. Hamada's work was influenced by a wide variety of folk ceramics including English medieval pottery, Okinawan stoneware, and Korean pottery. His works were not merely copies of the styles he studied, but were unique products of his own creative energy. Hamada’s great respect for artisan crafts led him to draw as much as possible from folk traditions. After receiving the Tochigi Prefecture Culture Award and Minister of Education Award for Art, Hamada was designated a Living National Treasure in 1955. Thereafter, he was appointed Director of the Japan Folk Art Museum and awarded the Okinawa Times Award and Order of Culture from the Emperor. In 1961, Shoji Hamada: Collected Works was published by Asahi Shimbun. In 1973, Hamada received an honorary Doctor of Art degree from the Royal College of Art in London, England. Shoji Hamada died in 1978, four years after the completion of the Mashiko Sankokan Museum, which was built in his home. Hamada's influence on potters around the world is incalculable, and the village of Mashiko has become synonymous with Japanese folk ceramics.

Shinsaku Hamada was born in 1929 in Tokyo, Japan as the second son of Shoji Hamada. A year later, the Hamada family moved to Mashiko in Tochigi Prefecture. Hamada studied industrial art at Waseda University in Tokyo and thereafter traveled with his father to assist him during demonstrations and lectures. The first Shinsaku Hamada solo exhibition was held at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in 1970, and he has since had numerous landmark exhibitions there, including a 2009 show to celebrate his 80th birthday. In 1978, Hamada became a Kokugakai National Art Association member and was named Director of the Mashiko Sankokan Museum. In 1999, he received the 27th Shimono Citizens Award. Hamada’s work is included in the collections of the Prefectural Governor’s residence and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Hamada continues to exhibit internationally and work alongside his son, Tomoo Hamada, in the original compound built by his father.

Tomoo Hamada was born in 1967 in Mashiko, Japan, as the second son of Shinsaku Hamada and a grandson of Shoji Hamada. In 1989 and 1991, Hamada received undergraduate and graduate degrees in sculpture from Tama Art University in Tokyo. Hamada has exhibited, lectured, and given workshops internationally and was integral in helping the pottery community of Mashiko rebuild from the devastating Tohoku earthquake of 2011. His ceramic works are included in the permanent collections of numerous museums including the Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Hamada currently lives in Mashiko, Japan on the original compound his grandfather built, and works alongside his father. In 2012, he became Director of the Shoji Hamada Memorial Mashiko Sankokan Museum.