WADA Morihiro Vase 1.jpg

wada morihiro

wada morihiro

wada morihiro 和田守卑良 (1994-2008)

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Wada Morihiro followed in the footsteps of ceramic genius Kamoda Shoji (1933-1983) by opening his own studio in Kasama city after finishing graduate work at Kyoto Art University, where he had studied with renowned artist Tomimoto Kenkichi (1886-1963). Born in 1944, Wada began exhibiting at some of Japan’s best contemporary ceramics galleries as early as 1979, when we was honored with a solo exhibition at Minami Aoyama Green gallery. I remember being directed to his work by the late Sydney Cardozo, a great collector and connoisseur. From this early success, Wada soared in reputation and fame, enjoying numerous solo exhibitions at prime venues, including the galleries at various Takashimaya department stores. International acclaim soon followed. He won numerous prizes, including a gold prize in Faenza, Italy in 1980, and was widely collected by both private collectors and museums. It was my privilege to meet Wada. We talked about China, my China, and I later learned that he had a particular fascination with that country. I wish we had had an opportunity to talk about much more. Wada was a gentile and modest person. His work is vigorous, intriguing, and ever changing. Now, though his voice is silenced, Wada continues to speak to us through his art. 

     Under Tomimodo Kenkichi’s guidance at Kyoto Art University, all students were supposed to learn from and recreate nature in their work. In Wada’s hands, nature became abstract as plants, animals, and natural forces became symbols and decorative elements, often combining into intricate abstract pattern. These patterns often rise from the repetition of abstracted natural form, becoming a unique expression of Wada’s particular view of the natural world. He used natural materials as much as possible, including different forms of clay, sand, and slip. He experimented with various colored natural clays that produce a variety of colors after high firing, including grey-green, dark auburn, purple, and navy. These Vessels he inlaid with white slip patterning, allowing the colorful clay to show through the inlaid lines in ever more complicated and intricate processes. 

     This piece exemplifies artist’s masterful patterning technique, which requires a lengthy process of building, inlaying, scraping, and glazing. The patterning recalls shards of ice, mountain peaks, cresting waves and billowing clouds, all at the same time. These forms arise from Wada’s own abstractions, rendering them completely unique and personal. I learned from Kiki Smith that the way to discern the real talent of an artist is to look to the way that an opening of a vessel is finished. This form is organic and natural, as if it grew up from the base. Every detail is sought after and highly considered, and many collectors have taken notice of this fact. 

     Wada’s work can be found at the Minneapolis Institute of Art; the Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina; the New Orleans Museum of Art; the Newark Museum of Art, New Jersey; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Faenza International Museum of Ceramics, Italy; Musée National de Céramique, Sèvres, France; Musée National de la Porcelaine Adrien-Dubouché, Limoges, France; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Musée Tomo, Tokyo; Kure Municipal Museum of Art, Hiroshima; Ogawa Museum of Art, Tokyo; Ibaraki Museum of Modern Art; Tokyo National Museum of Art; and the Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, as well as in numerous private collections. 




Public Collections

    Faenza International Museum of Ceramics, Italy;
Minneapolis Institute of Art;
Musée National de Céramique, Sèvres, France;
Musée National de la porcelaine Adrien-Dubouché, Limoges, France;
Mint Museum of Art, North Carolina;
New Orleans Museum of Art;
Newark Museum, New Jersey;
Philadelphia Museum of Art; 
Victoria and Albert Museum, London United Kingdom.    

    Musée Tomo, Tokyo;

    Kure Municipal Museum of Art, Kure City, Hiroshima;
Ogawa Museum of Art, Tokyo;
Ibaraki Museum of Modern Art;
Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art;
Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts.



1944    Born in Hyogo Prefecture

1967    Graduated from Kyoto City College of Arts, Department of Crafts

    Moved to Aki City, Kochi Prefecture

1976    Moved to Kasama City, Obaraki Prefecture

1977    Japan Ceramic Arts Exhibition

1979    Japan Ceramic Arts Exhibition

    Faenza International Ceramic Arts Exhibition

1980    Awarded the Gold Prize, Faenza International Ceramic Arts Exhibition

    Excellent Price, North Kanto Region Arts Exhibition

    Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

1981    Japan Ceramic Arts Exhibition

    Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

    Faenza International Ceramic Arts & Exhibition

1982    Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

    Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Arts, Festival of Asian Arts, Hong Kong  

1983    Became an official member of the Association of Japanese Traditional Arts & Crafts

    Japan Ceramic Arts Exhibition

    Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

    “Contemporary Japanese Arts & Crafts Itinerant Exhibition”, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, Victoria & Albert Museum, England, and other location in Canada. 

1984    Japan Traditional Arts & Crafs Exhibition

    “Traditional Japanese Designs” Exhibition, Moscow 

    “Ceramic Today” Exhibition

1985    Japan Ceramic Arts Exhibition

    Exhibition of Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

    Contemporary Ceramic Arts Exhibition, Kure Museum of Art

    “Clay, Image and Form” Exhibition

    Solo exhibition, Seibu Takanawakai

1986    Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts

    “Tomimoto Kenkichi & his Followers”, Tsurui Collection

    Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Arts Exhibition, New York, Poland, Greece, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, sponsored by Japan Foundation 

    Ceramic Artists after Tomimoto Kenkichi, Seibu Department Store, Ikebukuro

    Asahi Contemporary Crafts Exhibition

1987    Ceramics Prize, Japan Ceramic Arts Exhibition

    Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition    

    Contemporary Japanese Artists Exhibition

    “Crafts: Standardbearers of the End of the Century” Exhibition, Suntory Museum, Tokyo 

1987    Solo Exhibition, the 80th anniversary of the Takashima-ya Department Store, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama blanches

1988    Prize, the Association of Japan Ceramic Arts

    Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

    Contemporary Japanese Artists Exhibition

    “Nihon no Takumi (Japanese Artisans)” Exhibition, Takashima-ya Department Store 

    “Mime Pool Exhibition”, Ohara Center of Tokyo 

1989    Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition 

    Japan Ceramic Arts Exhibition

    Japanese Contemporary Arts Exhibition

    Europaria-Japan Exhibition, Brussels

1990    Europaria-Japan Homecoming Ceramic Arts Exhibition, Aichi prefectural Ceramic Museum

    “Primitivism in the Contemporary Ceramics”, Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art, The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park

    Contemporary Pottery and New Form Art Exhibition, kasama Nichido Museum of Art

    Solo Exhibition, Miliken Gallery, New York

    Solo Exhibition, Fujii Gallery, Tokyo

1991    Japan Ceramic Arts Exhibition

    Solo Exhibition, “Ceramic, the defiant Space”, Yuraku-cho Art Forum, Tokyo

1993    Modern Japanese Ceramics in American Collections, Japan Society, New York

 2005          Contemporary Clay: Japanese Ceramics for the New Century

          the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (October 2005 – July 2006) and Japan Society, 

                   New York, (September 2006 – January 2007)

2006    Solo Exhibition, Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi, Tokyo.

2008    Died.