Searching for her own mode of expression in sumi ink unfettered by established rules of calligraphy, Toko Shinoda has produced abstract paintings in sumi throughout the postwar period and up to the present. In her world of sumi art, quiet time runs deep and the way the sumi spreads over washi paper reminds us of the remote past. She started her career as a calligrapher, mastering its conventional arts, but her desire for expression gradually outgrew established rules regarding the forms of characters. She broke out of the framework of “calligraphy,” shifted away from the shapes of characters, and moved on to free, abstract expression in sumi ink.
While she left the world of calligraphy, calligraphy and characters are the underlying support of her work, which derives its richness from the distinctive aesthetic seen in the waka poetry with which she has been familiar since her youth.
This exhibition introduces the “One Hundred Man’yo Waka Poems” series (calligraphy by Toko Shinoda) and also displays abstract sumi works hinting at her enjoyment of elegant images of the seasons.