Miyoko Ito

Miyoko Ito’s work has such intense gravity for me. In the midst of the high strangeness of our time I find solace in her works.

Six paintings are hung on white walls at eye level. The paintings contain muted and vibrant warm colors depicting abstract shapes.
Miyoko Ito: Heart of Hearts. Installation view, Artists Space, 2018. Photo: Daniel Per├ęz.


The only major professional goal I have left is to work on an exhibition or book about her work. It is a crime that we have dozens of books on the likes of Richter or Pollock but really only a single TINY volume on Ito – and it’s currently out of print.

Here is a review of the last major exhibition of her work: Light Effects: On Miyoko Ito’s Abstract Inventions, from The Paris Review, 2018. The most significant exhibition exploring Ito was mounted in 2012 at Veneklasen Werner in Berlin. Go here for a great selection of exhibition shots.

Miyoko Ito’s work hanging above the stairwell in the Roger Brown House, Chicago.

I first encountered Ito’s work in person at the Roger Brown House in Chicago in the fall of 1999. I spent a good deal of time roving around the Chicago area to see all the Ito’s that are available in and around the city.

One of my main teachers at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago was Barbara Rossi. Rossi is an incredibly influential artist and educator who knew Ito and impressed me with her own work and her knowledge of the contexts surrounding art making in Chicago.

In 2015 I got close to arranging an exhibition of Ito’s lithographs but could not secure proper funding and loans of works. I’ll try again sometime soon. In that process I began to correspond with Vera Klement, a contemporary of Ito and a paragon of Chicago art. Via email interviews I got some fun backstory on the life and times of Ito, Rossi, and Klement. I’d love to get the chance to explore these artists and their works again.

Gradient red and green, curved and cusped shades. A red pointed mound sits atop a pale green inverted triangle inside angular red and green rectangles.
Miyoko Ito, Island in the Sun, 1978. Oil on canvas, 38 x 33 inches.