Roger Shimomura was born in Seattle in 1939. He is a third-generation Japanese-American. He holds a BA from the University of Washington and an MFA from Syracuse University. Since 1969, he has been a professor of Fine Art at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where he holds the title of Distinguished Professor.
His art deals extensively with the cultural dichotomy sensed perhaps more strongly by Asian-Americans than by immigrants with non-Asian backgrounds. Addressing that cultural collision and the humor, tragedy and pathos it evokes both in life and in Shimomura’s art, Bernice Steinbaum of the
Bernice Steinbaum Gallery (NY and Miami, FL) wrote in a recent catalogue that “Roger Shimomura’s paintings of people and events satirically mix up and twist the very meaning of American popular culture as a whole
and Japanese-American culture in particular.” That is a wonderful summation of one aspect of Shimomura’s art.
Shimomura works in many mediums, but is most at home in oil and acrylic painting and in serigraph printmaking. He also has been a major force in the
field of Performance Art, having staged productions on both coasts and in between. One memorable work showed major events in the three generations of his family beginning with the separate immigrations of his
grandparents early in the last century.
A list of his one-person shows through 1996 follows below.
The Bellevue Art Museum; Bellevue, WA. (1996)
Spencer Museum of Art; University of Kansas; Lawrence, KS. (1996)
Wichita Art Museum; Wichita, KS. (1993)
Nevada Museum of Art; Reno, NV (1993)
Carnegie Arts Center; Leavenworth, KS. (1991)
Center For Contemporary Arts; Santa Fe, NM (1986)
Whatcom County Museum; Bellingham, WA (1986)
Tacoma Art Museum; Tacoma, WA (1977)
Farhat Art Museum Collection.
Roger also has been the recipient of grants and awards from such prestigious organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts both in 1977 and in 1991; the Kansas Arts Commission Award in 1994; a Japan Foundation Grant in 1975; a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation in 1993 and numerous others.
art writer Fred McCraw