Frederick Harris Gallery@Tokyo American Club


March 24–April 13

To express her vision that humans and their creations exist in harmony with nature, sho calligraphy artist Ten-You immersed herself in the works of masters of such traditional elements as shikkui (lime plaster), sunago (powdered silver), urushi (lacquer) and sensu (Japanese folding fans).

“In this exhibition, my works are the cross-pollination of ancient Chinese characters and of the industrial arts and crafts born in the unique climate of Japan,” says Ten-You, whose real name is Mariko Yamada. “In order to realize this idea, I wanted to collaborate with several traditional skillful craftsmen who are acquainted well with the local climate in Japan and [who] have inherited the Japanese tradition directly.”

Working with a sunago artisan, she used silver and gold powder to create a unique piece of art. “I wanted the characters to be emerging and ebbing in the flow on the black ink,” she says. “I could not produce these works without my encounter with the sunago craftsman.”

Last year, she applied the techniques gleaned from a skilled plasterer to produce an engaging work of stucco calligraphy—a first of its kind.

Ten-You apprenticed with leading kodai moji (ancient character) calligrapher Koho Kato, starting in 2000, and became an independent calligrapher in 2007. Since then, she has exhibited her work across the world and has held workshops for children in Tokyo and Paris.

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