Image of painting, Sacramento, by Miyoko Ito, 1975.
by Miyoko Ito, oil on canvas, 1975

Miyoko Ito was an important artist in Chicago, admired by her contemporaries for her distinctive approach to painting. Her delicate, quick brush strokes and remarkable color combinations give her paintings a lively pulse. Ito was born to Japanese immigrant parents in Berkeley, California. She developed artistically under the influence of a wide range of movements and revolutions in the arts: Cubism, Bauhaus, Abstract Expressionism, and individual artists as diverse as Pablo Picasso, Hans Hoffman, and Paul Cezanne. In 1942, in her senior year at the University of California Berkeley, Ito was sent to an internment camp in California along with over 110,000 other Japanese-Americans at the start of the United States entering into World War II. After the war, Ito moved to Chicago where she worked for nearly 40 years as a practicing artist.

Ito was affiliated with the “Allusive Abstractionists,” a group of like-minded artists that included William Conger, Frank Piatek, and Richard Loving. Ito’s work hovers between references to figures and abstract geometries, using color, form, and atmosphere to evoke an experience of an emotional state or remembered place. This painting, Sacremento, with its sunset-like color choices and architectural references, was an elegy to her childhood in California.

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