Artists Space

Miyoko Ito: Heart of Hearts

April 7 – May 6, 2018

I have no place to take myself except painting.
– Miyoko Ito

Gradient red and green, curved and cusped shades. A red pointed mound sit 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. Courtesy of John B. Pittman [Gradient red and green, curved and cusped shades. A red pointed mound sit atop a pale green inverted triangle inside angular red and green rectangles.]

Heart of Hearts comprises a selection of enigmatic abstract paintings by Miyoko Ito (1918–1983), whose work has remained largely unexamined and overlooked outside of Chicago. Not intended as a decisive survey, the selection mostly spans the 1970s until the end of the artist's life, and highlights Ito's searching exploration of self-portraiture and place.

Curated by Jordan Stein in collaboration with Artists Space, Heart of Hearts follows Miyoko Ito / MATRIX 267 at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Miyoko Ito was born in Berkeley, California, to Japanese parents in 1918. As a young girl, she spent several years with her mother and sister in Japan, where she first experimented with calligraphy and painting. Ito followed her father in attending the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied watercolor under John Haley, Erle Loran, and Worth Ryder. Months before her graduation in 1942, Ito was sent to Tanforan, an internment camp south of San Francisco. Released years before her new husband, she briefly matriculated at Smith College before transferring to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received a scholarship but never graduated. Although her efforts were highly susceptible to regionalization, Ito participated in the 1975 Whitney Biennial and was honored with a retrospective exhibition at the Renaissance Society in 1980. She was represented by Phyllis Kind Gallery in Chicago and New York from the late 1960s through her death in 1983. Recent exhibitions include solo presentations at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2017; Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York, 2006 and 2014; VeneKlasen/Werner, Berlin, 2012; and No Vacancies, a group presentation at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, 2015.

In the foreground, a painting hung on a white wall features warm hues. A television monitor is installed in an alcove, and a woman
Installation view, Miyoko Ito: Heart of Hearts, April 7- May 6, 2018, Artists Space, New York. Courtesy of Artists Space, New York. Photo: Daniel Peréz. [In the foreground, a painting hung on a white wall features warm hues. A television monitor is installed in an alcove, and a woman's face is visible on the screen. Two paintings can be seen in the background.]
A painting with orange and neutral hues is hung on a white wall with nails around the perimeter of the canvas.
Heart of Hearts Basking, 1973. Oil on canvas, 44 x 31 7/8 inches. Collection Matthew Marks Gallery. Courtesy of Artists Space, New York. Photo: Daniel Peréz. [A painting with orange and neutral hues is hung on a white wall with nails around the perimeter of the canvas.]
A painting with blue, yellow, and neutral tones is hung on a white wall. Another painting is visible in the background with bright yellow and orange hues.
Kalamazoo, 1959. Oil on canvas, 56 x 70 inches. Collection of Karin Tappendorf. Courtesy of Artists Space, New York. Photo: Daniel Peréz. [A painting with blue, yellow, and neutral tones is hung on a white wall. Another painting is visible in the background with bright yellow and orange hues.]
Six paintings are hung on white walls at eye level. The paintings contain muted and vibrant warm colors depicting abstract shapes.
Installation view, Miyoko Ito: Heart of Hearts, April 7 – May 6, 2018. Artists Space, New York. Courtesy of Artists Space, New York. Photo: Daniel Peréz. [Six paintings are hung on white walls at eye level. The paintings contain muted and vibrant warm colors depicting abstract shapes.]

We would like to extend our gratitude to all of the lenders to Heart of Hearts:
Alice Brunner, Peter Doig and Parinaz Mogadassi, Kate Horsfield, Karen Lennox, Kate Lennox, Matthew Marks, JPMorgan Chase Art Collection, John B. Pittman, Robert Storr, Karin Tappendorf, and Gordon VeneKlasen. Thanks also to Video Data Bank, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

With generous support contributed by Frank Williams and Matthew Marks Gallery

Heart of Hearts Supporters:
The Friends of Artists Space, The Artists Space Program Fund, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, Matthew Marks, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.