The Chinese characters 火 (fire) and 水 (water) are her favorites, writes Toko, and they are symbols of opposites she finds compelling both as ideographs and materials and has used in her works over and over.
For Toko, who began practicing calligraphy as a young girl, characters are beautiful “shapes” that captivate her, even today as a painter of abstracts. Characters remind her of how things themselves came into being prior to the appearance of characters. They stir various ideas in her mind and offer her hints in her search for ways of expression.
Characters can be used to express “shapes” and thoughts that come into one’s mind. As one who works with sumi ink, especially the characters “fire” and “water”—the materials from which sumi ink is made (sumi being made of charcoal)—hold strong appeal. They draw her not so much to write them literally, but toward the shapes in her mind—the “abstract”—depicted using dots and lines.
This exhibition displays 29 works by Toko, introducing her shapes of fire and water expressed in sumi.