Modernist SHO Calligraphy / Paintings by Shiryu Morita
Shiryu Morita Bio (in Japanese)
JOHN MOLLOY GALLERY is pleased to announce an exhibition and sale of work by Shiryu Morita (1912 - 1999), a founder of the influential Bokujin-Kai (Ink Human Society). This post-WWII artists' group sought to reconceptualize calligraphy as a form of contemporary expressionist painting. Its Influence extended to the parallel movement of 'action painting’ in the West and its influence on artists of that period, most notably Franz Kline, is clear.
As the primary theoretician for this group as well as its best known artist, Shiryu Morita was an important voice in the development of post-war Japanese art both in practice and theory. His participation in the Gendai Bijutsu kondan-Kai (Contemporary Art Discussion Group) in Osaka from 1951 to 1956 extended that influence. His work has been 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, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and The Chicago Art Institute. His work there, entitled Dragon Knows Dragon (meaning to recognize greatness is greatness), has been called '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'.
In 1963, for his solo exhibition at the seminal Mi Chou Gallery, where many of these works were exhibited, 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 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." More than a dozen monochrome works dating to the 1960's by this important artist whose work expanded the aesthetic and philosophical principles of calligraphy to a global art form will be on view.