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A Tribute to the Artistic Vision of Shinoda Tōkō

December 14, 2021–March 20, 2022

Gallery 213



“Certain forms float up in my mind ’s eye…I try to capture these vague, evanescent images of the instant and put them into vivid form.”

–Shinoda Tōkō


Shinoda Tōkō was one of the foremost women artists in Japan. Over her seven-decades career she worked in calligraphy, sumi-e (ink paintings) and printmaking. She blended a modern expressionist spirit with the time-honored tradition of calligraphy into a unique artistic vision. In October 1960 she created the first of her lithographs at The Japan Society Lithography Workshop in Tokyo run by Arthur Flory to introduce Japanese artists to the lithographic process. Lithography, a planographic (flat surface) printing process, lent itself to Shinoda’s direct fluid brushwork. With impeccable placement, using a myriad of brushes, her simple bold strokes balance line and form, stillness and motion with delicate grays and intense blacks creating works of elegant visual poetry.

Born in 1913 in Manchuria, China, Shinoda grew up in Gifu, Japan. She began the disciplined study of calligraphy at the age of 6. After World War II, she pursued the more unrestricted medium of sumi-e. In 1954 Shinoda was included in the show Japanese Calligraphy at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Between 1956 and 1958 she visited the United States where Betty Parsons New York gallery exhibited her work, and she met up-and-coming Abstract Expressionists including Franz Kline and Mark Rothko. After Shinoda’s return to Japan, her paintings and over 300 lithographs with an expressionist flair have received over the decades solo and group exhibitions at home and internationally. Shinoda continued to work until her passing on March 1, 2020, at the age of 107.