Walter Randel Gallery takes great pleasure in announcing a solo exhibition of works by one of the most renowned artists of innovative Sho calligraphy, Shiryu Morita.

A founder of the Bokujin Group in 1952, an important association of Japanese calligraphers, Morita was born in Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. He lectured and traveled extensively world-wide during his long career. Alexandra Munroe, The Guggenheim Museum’s Senior Curator of Asian Art, wrote in Japanese Art After 1945: Scream Against the Sky, “Among the most influential and innovative of the postwar avant-garde traditional arts groups was Bokujin-Kai (Ink Human Society) which was founded by five Kyoto-area calligraphers including Morita Shiryu.”

He exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, the National Museum of Modern Art in Sydney, Australia and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and twice participated in the Sao Paulo Biennale. In 1962 Morita helped organize Schrift und Bild, held the following year in Baden-Baden at the National Museum of Fine Arts, an exhibition that traveled to Amsterdam. His many solo gallery exhibitions include those at the Yamada Gallery in Kyoto, Apollo Gallery in Brussels, Claven Gallery in Paris as well as the Mi Chou Gallery and World House Gallery in New York.

Among his works in American museum collections, Dragon Knows Dragon (meaning to recognize greatness is greatness), in the Art Institute of Chicago, is a stellar example of his groundbreaking and intense style of abstracted calligraphy where motion and action with the brush is as important as the characters he chooses to paint. The Art Institute of Chicago’s essay about Dragon Knows Dragon acknowledges, “The notion of abstraction had been part of the practice of East Asian calligraphy for many centuries and Morita wrote often about the interplay between traditional Japanese calligraphy and abstract art in the West. He collaborated with European artists of the Abstract Expressionist movement such as Pierre Alechinsky and Georges Mathieu, and American artists Mark Tobey and Franz Kline influenced and were influenced by contemporary Japanese calligraphy such as Morita’s works.”

In 1963, for his solo exhibition at Mi Chou Gallery, Morita wrote, “In the Orient the mere act of writing characters had an honorable history of three thousand years since it was raised to the level of a fine art called Sho. While the act of writing characters may appear to be no more than the movement of the hand or body, what we mean by sho is something different.” Indeed, his act of writing became so evolved and full of movement that at times, the character painted needed to be identified with the standard written form, as an interpretative tool for understanding the “word.”

More than 15 monochrome works by this revolutionary artist whose reevaluation and innovation expanded the aesthetic and philosophical principles of calligraphy to a global, expressionistic art form will be on view in this one-person exhibition, with paintings which range from the “readable” to those so abstract that they appear as action personified and memorialized in paint to evoke the meaning of the word.

For more information and images, contact Yoo-Jong Kim or Walter Randel info@wrgallery.com
Pictured at top:
, (Deep Pool)
Ink and paint on paper
36 x  71 inches

Pictured left:
, (Deep Green, Deep Blue: i.e. vast, infinitely penetrating)
Ink and paint on paper
58 x 46 inches

Contact: Walter Randel.
Additional images available upon request: info@wrgallery.com

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