Now On View: Mystics at the Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Art Museum mystics and modern art

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The Seattle Art Museum, located in beautiful and bustling downtown Seattle, always hosts a diverse array of local and international works from acclaimed multidisciplinary artists. This summer, one of the museum’s most anticipated exhibitions is one that pays homage to the Pacific Northwest, and features the work of four American modernists.

“Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: The Mythic and the Mystical” is an exploration of the “the mystics,” a handful of artists who became known as the Northwest School of modern art during the 1930s and ‘40s. According to the Seattle Art Museum, “Fed by one another’s passions and talents, Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan, and Guy Anderson sought to create art that consciously responded to the world events around them,” of the intent that drove these artistic mystics.

The Seattle Art Museum holds one of the largest collections of work by these four artists, and explains that despite how their art was regionally inspired by the Northwest mix of Native American and Asian traditions, the mystics were universally revered. Avant-garde and possessing great technical skill, these artists described the creative process as a form of spiritual quest.

Inspired by nature, texture, Pacific Northwestern traditions and the artistic influences of native cultures, the mystics created art that presented a visceral response to their surroundings. “Tobey, Callahan, Graves, and Anderson all felt a mystical connection to the Northwest’s native cultures,” explains the Seattle Art Museum of the nearby forces that influenced their work. Each of these mystics “embraced the visual language of the Northwest Coast people as a useful lexicon of symbols for conveying universal brotherhood, a common spirituality, and a belief in the primary laws of nature,” details the museum.

Although the Seattle Art Museum houses an impressive body of work from the mystics, this particular exhibition will only be on display for a few more weeks. If you’re fond of the intersection of modern art and nature, this exhibition is not to be missed.

Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: The Mythic and the Mystical

June 19 – September 7, 2014

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries, Seattle Art Museum 

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