In the Gallery - Wrestling the Demon: Noriko and Ushio Shinohara

On October 11th, Ronin Gallery welcomed an eager crowd to the opening of Wrestling the Demon: Noriko and Ushio Shinohara. Noriko Shinohara, Ushio Shinohara and Alex Kukai Shinohara all attended the festivities. This exhibition explores storied careers of these two artists through prints, paintings, and drawings. Several works by their son, Alex Kukai Shinohara, carry their legacy into the next generation. From Noriko’s famed Cutie to Ushio’s notorious boxing paintings, the show considers decades spent wrestling with the demon of art, and quite often, wrestling with themselves.

An eager crowd at the opening of Wrestling the Demon: Noriko and Ushio Shinohara
An eager crowd at the opening of Wrestling the Demon: Noriko and Ushio Shinohara

 Wrestling the Demon considers the development of each artist over several decades. For Noriko, a narrative of self-actualization as an artist runs through the paintings and prints of her Cutie series. As Cutie develops over the years, Noriko exorcises her regrets, hones her artistic awareness, and finds empowerment. For Ushio, a dialogue between his prints and other media weaves a steady thread through his long career. From enfant terrible of the Japanese art scene, to Brooklyn-based artist, Ushio continues to develop his action paintings and prints with unrelenting vigor and varied perspective.

Artist Noriko Shinohara speaking with guests.
Artist Noriko Shinohara speaking with guests.
As the guests explore the exhibition, Ushio Shinohara's "Black Oiran" can be seen on the far wall.
As the guests explore the exhibition, Ushio Shinohara's "Black Oiran" can be seen on the far wall.
Noriko says a few words at the opening of Wrestling the Demon. From left: Ronin Gallery president David Libertson, Noriko Shinohara, Ushio Shinohara, Alex Kukai Shinohara.
Noriko says a few words at the opening of Wrestling the Demon. From left: Ronin Gallery president David Libertson, Noriko Shinohara, Ushio Shinohara, and Alex Kukai Shinohara.

In 2013, the Emmy winning and Academy-award nominated film Cutie and the Boxer explored the intersecting vibrancy and struggle of the artist couple. The Shinohara’s met in New York City in the early 1970s and became active members of the city’s avant-garde, joining artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Yoko Ono in asserting a Japanese voice in the thriving art scene of the United States. For nearly 50 years, the pair have continued to engage in this discourse, never ceasing to test the limits of their own creativity. Noriko and Ushio Shinohara have exhibited their work in solo and group exhibitions internationally, including shows at the Japan Society New York and International Print Center New York.

Thank you to all who helped celebrate the opening of Wrestling the Demon. Missed opening night? Be sure to stop by the gallery before November 11th or visit the online exhibition here.

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