Miyoko Ito was born in Berkeley, California in 1918. She spent her early childhood with her family in Japan, where she learned calligraphy and painting, both of which influenced her work as an artist. Upon returning to the United States, she attended University of California, Berkeley, where she studied watercolor painting. Just before her graduation in 1942, she was sent to a Japanese internment camp south of San Francisco. Upon her release, she continued her studies first at Smith College and then transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Though her work often appeared in major exhibitions during her lifetime, after her death she received little critical attention up until recently, as scholars have begun to (re)discover her mastery and unique style. Scholars have difficulty placing her in the context of a single American art movement, as her work touches upon themes of Cubism, Abstract Impressionism, and Surrealism. More information about this artist
Ito transitioned from watercolor to oil painting in the late 1940s. Anesthesia shows her use of bold colors and abstract shapes, that seemingly reference the body. Painted later in Ito’s career, Untitled (116) speaks to the signature pastel palette she frequently employed in her later work
and includes characteristic bands of ombre colors. Variously referred to as abstracted landscapes and also dressers or wardrobes, the works create an intimacy with the viewer. Drawing on her Japanese heritage, each work contains a mistake, a passage where it seems as if a thread has broken off from the painted shape.