Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Cruising Artcyclopedia

I'm having a blast cruising through Artcyclopedia. I'm reacquainting myself with artists, and their work, that have colored my life.

When I was a college student, I took my first art history class. For that class, it was mandatory to trek either to Vancouver, BC or Seattle and soak up a museum. I chose to tootle around the Seattle Art Museum(SAM), and that is where I met Mark Tobey and Morris Graves.

Of course, it wasn't a literal meet-up; SAM was the first place I viewed their paintings. Since I started cruising Artcyclopedia, I learned something new about Graves and Tobey. They worked together, with a few other artists, to establish The Northwest School. The blending of regional natural elements and traditional Asian style pursued by The Northwest School artists has been hugely influential in establishing contemporary Pacific Northwest aesthetics.

Back when I became aquainted with these two painters, their Puget Sound connection was laid out, but I thought it, at least in Tobey's case, was fleeting. It turns out, besides the establishment of the Northwest School, he taught at Cornish (this brought him to Seattle in the first place) and had his first solo exhibition at Seattle Art Museum.

Graves' roots were well established in the Pacific Northwest; he lived here until 1964. His use of birds in his paintings endeared his work to me. His paintings remind me of old school blues, soulful and yet a celebration of life.


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