One of my favorite benefits of living in Portland is the nourishing nature that surrounds our beautiful city. Searching for a creative catalyst, I visited The Portland Japanese Garden (my surefire cure for spring fever). After pausing by the waterfall in the Strolling Pond Garden, I walked up to the pavilion to enjoy the current Art in the Garden exhibit.
The Portland Japanese Garden celebrates it’s 50th anniversary in 2013. To honor this special occasion, three unique Art in the Garden exhibitions will be featured throughout the year. 50 Prints and Paintings, Toko Shinoda at 100 is the first, on view through this Sunday, March 17th.
Celebrated as one of Japan’s leading modern calligraphers, Japanese artist Toko Shinoda just celebrated her 99th birthday in 2012. Influenced by the Abstract Expressionists, Shinoda has called her work “a balance between dynamism and traditional elegance.” The Art in the Garden exhibit includes a piece of her work from each year of the Garden’s history, starting in 1963 through today.
My impression upon viewing her work: Powerful.
I’ve always been an avid fan of the tactile sensation of viewing calligraphy — you can almost feel the brush in your hand. Walking among the combination of bold, energetic brushstrokes placed vividly amongst active white space — I was transported into Shinoda’s world. I was astonished by her ability to evoke vivid emotions using only minimal form and a select few colors (most pieces used black sumo ink with a touch of gold, red, or blue).
Personal Favorites from the show included:
In the Twilight, Lithograph with Calligraphy Strokes
Setting Forth, Lithograph with hand added colors gold and gray
Moon and Flowers, Sumi and cinnabar ink on paper
The exhibit ends it run this Sunday, March 17, 2013. Enjoy this rare glimpse from Tokyo while it’s still nestled in the City of Roses.
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