Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Dr. Fredrika Jacobs


Calligraphy and calligraphic elements in abstract art demonstrate the differences between Japanese and American approaches to abstraction. An examination of the use of calligraphy in Japanese art can reveal how its historic tradition in Japan lends depth and meaning to an image, which is not effectively possible for American artists using the same forms. These differences descend from a Japanese writing system that developed as abstracted images in themselves. Though the Western tradition of Abstract Expressionism art sought to make the experience of painting purely visual without the aid of narrative, explanation, or text, both American and Japanese artists used calligraphic forms. In a word and image analysis, this thesis demonstrates how these calligraphic forms can reveal layers of meaning within their appropriate cultural context. Reconciling calligraphy with abstract art presents the conflict of East meeting West in a new form.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission