Adam Baumgold Gallery presents an exhibition of paintings by Miyoko Ito (1918-1983) from November 7through December 20, 2014. This will be Ito’s second New York solo exhibition since 1978. Miyoko Ito was born to Japanese parents in Berkeley, CA in 1918. She studied art at the University of California at Berkeley for a short time until she was imprisoned in a Japanese-American camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Ito continued her education in prison and afterwards went to Smith College. After college, she was given a scholarship to attend the Art Institute of Chicago. It was in Chicago that Ito's career as an artist flourished; exploring cubism and latent abstraction in her works. Ito stayed in Chicago until her death in 1983.
The exhibition will focus on Miyoko Ito’s paintings from the 1960’s to 1970’s. These paintings with their subtle mix of abstraction and figuration share the spirit of Matisse’s “Piano Lesson,” the linearity of Diebenkorn’s “Ocean Park” paintings and Paul Klee’s “ability to imbue his images with an inner life that is compelling and magical,”1 yet Ito’s paintings retain an obstinate independence and original vision that were an inspiration and bridge for generations of abstract and imagist artists in Chicago.
In his essay for the exhibition, Len Klekner says, “Ito’s paintings are in the main abstract, creating and maintaining an alternative universe as a whole distinctly set off from the world we inhabit. But many of her forms are allusive, suggestive of bits and pieces of bodies and the furnishings of our everyday lives. These elements are never resolved enough to overpower the imaginative arenas of her abstract fields. But they are suggestive enough, and perhaps even jarring enough, to lend another level of frisson to her works. Her forms are also often playful, quirky, and even goofy-to the point of contrasting markedly with the quiet authority of her sensitive backgrounds and resonant facture.”
Miyoko Ito’s work has been included in all major surveys of Chicago art including the exhibition “Art in Chicago 1945-1995.” A retrospective of her work was held at The Rennaisance Society at The University of Chicago in 1980. Ito was also included in the Whitney Biennial in 1975, and the Carnegie Insititute’s “International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting.” Her work is in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, The National Academy of Design, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, and The Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.