Project Description

Makoto Fujimura

Makoto Fujimura fuses traditional Nihonga painting with the techniques of Western abstraction.  Fujimura uses stone-ground minerals such as gold, platinum, malachite, azurite, and cinnabar.  He believes that the minerals-particularly-allow for a fuller exploration of the space between flattness of abstraction and interior space of representation.  “Gold is that paradox: it creates space (by being semi-transparent) and remains flat (by being mirror-like) at the same time,” says Fujimura.  His deep religious faith attracts him to the metaphysical aspects of Abstract Expressionism and Color Field Painting.

Born in the United States and trained in Japan, Fujimura’s extensive exposure to both Western and Asian art has created a unique fusion of two in his own work.  He spent his early years in Japan and returned as a postgraduate on a Japanese governmental scholarship to study Nihonga (traditional Japanese painting) at the Tokyo University of Fine Art.  Graduating from his MFA program as the top painter, he began an apprenticeship with the master Nihonga painter Matazo Kayama to pursue his doctoral studies.  Fujimura was able to experiment with the Nihonga tradition, achieving a synthesis he continues to explore today between his outsider point of view and classical Japanese painting.  Fujimura’s works are included in the collections of almost every major museum in Japan and has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and world.

1992 Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music,
1992 Doctoral Level program in Nihonga
1989 Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, M.F.A
1983 Bucknell University, double major in Animal Behavior and Art, B.A.

2013 Golden Sea, Dillon Gallery, New York, NY
2013 Golden Sea and The Four Gospels, Yale University, NY
2010-2011 The Four Holy Gospels, Dillon Gallery, NY; Addington Gallery, Chicago; Takashimaya Gallery; Tokyo and other locations
2010 Soliloquies 2, Cities Gallery, Shanghai, China
2010 Soliloquies, Bucknell Soliloquies, Shanghai, China
2009 Charis, Exit Gallery, Hong Kong Olana Whitestone Gallery, Philadelphia
2009 Rouault – Fujimura, Soliloquies, New York, NY
2008 Charis, Dillon Gallery, New York, NY
2006 Golden Flames, Sara Tecchia Roma, New York, NY
2006 Making Peace, The City of London Festival with Yoko Ono London, France
2005 Water Flames, Sara Tecchia Roma, New York City
2003 The Still Point, Takashimaya Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2003 Golden Pines, Dillon Gallery, Oyster Bay, New York
2003 Four Quartets, Kristen Frederickson Contemporary, New York City
2002 Columbines, Matsuya Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2002 Gravity and Grace, Belles Artes Gallery, Sante Fe, New Mexico
2002 Makoto Fujimura, Yoshiaki Inoue Gallery, Osaka, Japan
2002 Makoto Fujimura, The Eugene and Leona Olson Gallery, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN
2001 Makoto Fujimura Restrospective III, Sen Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2001 Makoto Fujimura, Dillon Gallery, Oyster Bay, NY
2001 Gravity and Grace, Laurel Tracey Gallery, Red Bank, NJ
2001 The Burning Bush, Engstrom Galleria, Taylor University, IN
2001 Makoto Fujimura, The Henry Luce III Center for Arts and Religion, Washington, D.C.
2001 Quince, Narthex and Stairwell Gallery, St. Peter’s Church, New York, NY
2001 New York Works, Barrington Center for the Arts, Godon College, Wenham, MA
2000 Altarpiece, St. James Chapel, Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY
2000 St. John Project, Dillon Gallery, Oyster Bay, NY
2000 Makoto Fujimura Retrospective II, Sen Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1999 Millennium Exhibition, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New York, NY
1999 Makoto Fujimura Retrospective I, Sen Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1998 Hours, Dillon Gallery, Oyster Bay, NY
1998 Makoto Fujimura, Gallery You, Kyoto, Japan
1998 Makoto Fujimura, Kawarahara Gallery, Kyoto, Japan
1997 Images of Grace, Dillon Gallery, Oyster Bay, New York
1997 The City of God, Gallery You, Kyoto, Japan
1997 Makoto Fujimura, Kawarahara Gallery, Kyoto, Japan

2013 Gold Rush, Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, AZ
2012 GOLD, Belvedere Museum, Vienna, Austria
2012 Edo to Video: Japanese Screens, Dillon Gallery, New York, NY
2011 Nihonga: New Traditions, Dillon Gallery, New York, NY
2010 Shadow: Six Asian Artists, Martin-Mullen Art GAllery, State University of New York Oneonta, Oneonta, NY
2010 Nihonga: New Traditions, Dillon Gallery, New York, NY
2009 Nihonga: New Traditions, Dillon Gallery, New York, NY
2007 New Art, Curated by Keiji Hayashi, Yokohama Citizen’s Gallery
2007 0x0 Hiroshima, curated by Kasumi Kitada, Hiroshi Senju, Robert Kushner, Pamela Moore, Judith Kruger and others
2005 The Voting Booth Project, Parsons School of Design, New York, NY
2003 The WRONG Exhibit, Birmingham, U.K.
2002 WATERwalks, ISE Cultural Foundation, New York, NY
2002 The Return of Beauty, Kristen Federickson Gallery, New York, NY
1999 Two-T, TriBeCa Temporary Exhibits, New York, NY
1999 Inaugural Exhibit, Makoto Fujimura, James Elaine and William Basinski TriBeCa Temporary Exhibits, New York, NY
1999 Art as Prayer, Cooper Union Gallery, New York, NY
1999 Nihonga, Dillon Gallery, New York, NY
1999 Fifth Annual Invitational, Dillon Gallery, New York, NY
1998 Summer Group Exhibition, Dillon Gallery, New York, NY
1998 The Last “‘Hisho” Exhibit, Tamaya Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1997 Black or White, Dillon Gallery, New York, NY
1997 Neo-Rimpa, Yoshiaki Inoue Gallery, Osaka, Japan (including Robert Kushner, Hiroshi Senju and Betty Woodward)
1997 Drawings II, Tamaya Gallery, Japan

Cincinatti Art Museum, Cincinatti, OH
Contemporary Museum of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Oxford House, CNN/Time Warner Building, Taikoo Place, Hong Kong
The Sato Museum, Tokyo, Japan
St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO
Tamaya Corporation, Virginia Beach, VA
Sanbi-Shosha Collection, Japan
Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music
Yamaguchi Prefecture Museum of Art, Yamaguchi, Japan
Nerima Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Kikkoman Corporation, Noda, Japan

2010 Master in Depth The Multidimensional Makoto Fujimura David Gelernter
2009 Rouault & Fujimura, Square Halo press, Thomas Hibbs
2008 Culture Makers Andy Crouch
2008 Artist of Faith Michelle Morrissey, Salem news
2007 Review: American Composer’s Orchestra, Steve Smith,The New York Times
2007 Can Paintings Create Music, Sara Rose, Associated Press, Washington Times, MSNBC, The Canadian Press, Times of India, and other newspapers
2007 Faith in Art, Eric Gorski, Associated Press, Guardian Unlimited, Seattle Times, MSNBC, The 2007 Honolulu Advisor and other newspapers
2007 Maureen Mullarkey The New York Sun, “Winter Trio: Laurie Fendrich at Katherina Rich Perlow; Alice Federico at George Billis Gallery, Makoto Fujimura at Sara Tecchia Roma” Available at
2006 British Broadcasting Company, “Destination Tokyo: Yayoi Kusama, Makoto Fujimura and others”, August
2005 Christine Cavallomagno, “Makoto Fujimura, Sublime Mystery”, NYArts Magazine, December
2005 David Gelernter, “A Faithful Art: Makoto Fujimura and the redemption of abstract expressionism”, 2003 The Weekly Standard, March 7, 2003
2003 Booyeon Lee, “Simple Truth: Art of Makoto Fujimura”, International Herald Tribune, November 1-2
2003 “The Splendor of a Medium”, Kristen Frederickson Contemporary
2002 Richard Tobin, “Gravity and Grace”, THE Magazine
2002 Kyle MacMillan, “Street of Treasure in Santa Fe”, Denver Post
2002 Ellison Walcott, “Much to discover in two Tribeca exhibits”, Downtown Express, June 18-24
2002 Wayne Roosa, “A Three-Part Meditation on Makoto Fujimura’s Triptych”, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN
2002 “Makoto Fujimura, Retrospective III”, Sen Gallery, Tokyo
2001 “Beauty without Regret”, curated by Robert Kushner, Bellas Artes, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2001 “Transcendent Space; with Mineral Pigments”, Daily Yomiuri, May 25
2001 William A. Dyrness, “Visual Faith: art, theology and worship in dialogue”, Baker Academic
2001 “The Pursuit of Faith Through Art,” The Japan Times, April 18
2001 Tim Walker, “Japanese Art Displayed in Galleria”, Arts and Entertainment,
2001 The Echo, April 20
2001 “Off the Walls”, Worldwide Challenge Magazine
2001 “Makoto Fujimura, Retrospective II”, Sen Gallery, Tokyo
2000 “Makoto Fujimura, Retrospective I,” Sen Gallery, Tokyo
2000 “Nihonga of the 20th Century”, Tokyo National University Museum Press
2000 “St. John’s Project”, Dillon Gallery Press

Artsy Editorial: Art Worth its Weight in Gold
Contemporary uses of gold have stretched far beyond its historical foundations in societal status, wealth and spirituality. As a substance with legendary qualities, subject and form no longer limit gold.  In Bentley Gallery’s exhibition Gold Rush, 15 artists come together to challenge perceptions (and uses) of the world’s most alluring metal. 


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