The aspiration that guides Toko Shinoda’s work, even as she turned 105 years of age, is to pursue the visible form that can be given to the sentiments and emotions that stir the human heart. She has taken up the challenge of a new art of giving shape to that which has no form that no one can imitate. Her letters in free-flowing yet practiced lines and refined abstract shapes with their distinctive flair have broad appeal. Toko’s abstract works have been taken up in many different ways and can be found gracing many book bindings and merchandise labels.
Toko created the illustrations for the September 11, 1996 to April 9, 1997 serial publication in the Yomiuri shimbun newspaper of Uruwashiki hibi (Magnificent Days) by novelist Nobuo Kojima (1915–2006). Her contributions did not attempt to portray the content of the autobiographical novel, in which it is difficult to tell what is fact and fiction, but illustrated in abstract forms. Presenting 30 of the 204 original works she produced for the serialization as well as other illustrations, this exhibit explores her work in the 1990s, when she was pursuing ever-deeper refinement of her art.