Monday, October 23, 2017

Chizuko Yoshida's Balance of Nature

Chizuko Yoshida (née Inoue) was born in 1924 in Japan. She is a Modernist artist, whose work reflects the developments of Japanese art post World War II. She is also the middle link in the succession of three generations of women artists in the Yoshida family(a rarity in Japanese art). She is the wife of artist Hodaka Yoshida (1926–1995). Hodaka’s mother, Fujio Yoshida (1887–1987), was a noted artist alongside of her husband Hiroshi Yoshida (1876–1950). Chizuko's daughter, Ayomi Yoshida (born 1958), is well known for her modernist prints and installations.

Chizuko's first art teacher was Fumio Kitaoka. She studied design at Hongo Art Institute until it was destroyed in WWII. Due to the frequent air raids she was sent to Aoyama until the end of the war, then in 1949 joined an art seminar of Okamoto Tarō. A year later she became a member of two important art associations: the Pacific Painting Society, and Shuyōkai.

She joined two important art associations after returning to Tokyo: the Pacific Painting Society (Taiheiyō-Gakai), established in 1902 by Hiroshi Yoshida and Ishikawa Toraji and the Vermilion Leaf Society (Shuyōkai), a womens’ artist group, established by Fujio Yoshida (1887-1987)in 1920.

In the late 1940s, Chizuko started participating in a group of avant-garde artists, writers, and intellectuals called the Century Society (Seiki no kai), who met to discuss art theory and criticism. Okamoto Tarō, a prominent Surrealist painter and critic, led the group where Chizuko was exposed to discourse on the integration of Japanese cultural traditions with international modernist ideas. Under Okamoto’s influence, Chizuko's work moved toward abstract compositions.

She began submitting works to the Taiheiyō shows and in 1949 was made an associate member of the group. It was through the Taiheiyō that she met Hodaka Yoshida. They attended Onchi Kōshirō’s art seminar together, held an exhibition of their works and in 1953 they were married. They have two children, Ayomi and Takasuke (1959- an art jewelry maker), and they have had long careers as independently inspired modern printmakers.

Chizuko eventually developed her own distinctive style. In her best-known abstractions, she expresses the ephemeral beauty of nature: the balance one finds between delicacy and strength, and the variety within repetition. Her prints range from geometric abstraction to music to nature. Underlying her compositions is an inner strength, the recollection of a moment. Later, in the mid-1960s, she embraced a 3-dimensional quality to her work. Chizuko’s best-known subjects are butterflies.

Chizuko has been a member of the Japanese Print Association since 1954 and she also helped establish the Women’s Printmakers Association in 1954. She has exhibited in the College Women’s Association of Japan since 1956 and in the annual Contemporary Women’s Exhibition in Ueno Museum since 1987. She has been invited to exhibit in many international art and print biennials.

In 2014, she was one of five contemporary Japanese women artists featured in Portland Art Museum’s exhibition called “Breaking Barriers: Japanese Women Print Artists 1950–2000."

Public Collections:

The British Museum
Art Institute of Chicago
Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art
Tokyo International Museum of Modern Art
Yokohama Museum of Art

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