“I love Gifu’s old name, Mino,” says Toko Shinoda, “The name Mino consists of the characters mi (beautiful) and no (dense), immediately reminding me of the sumi—that beautiful, black-colored ink, which is such an intimate part of my life.” Born in Dalian, China and brought up in Tokyo though she was, Toko started studying calligraphy as a little girl under the guidance of her father, a native of the village of Akutami in Gifu prefecture. She is deeply attached to the natural and cultural climate of Gifu, home of her heart.
Toko also says “Mino is home of sumi.” Many scenes of nature in Mino—the deep blue of the sky and of the Nagara river after dusk falls, the looming black shadow of Mt. Kinka, the white pebbles of the river beach—abide in the heart of this artist working with sumi. Her love of Gifu brings forms to her heart and these forms appear in her works. Depicting the forms of the heart is Toko’s spiritual journey to the sources of her own creativity over the long expanse of time. It is also a journey in quest of new forms.
The exhibition introduces works born out of Toko’s connection with Gifu, centering around her first-ever trilogy of paintings and a large-scale pair of six-panel byobu folding screens. Even at age 98, Toko’s eagerness to create knows no bounds. The exhibition presents the boundless reach and new developments of the world of Toko’s suiboku ink painting.