You are invited to attend the opening artist's reception for the group show, 'Friends of Alden Mason', featuring artists: Pat Howie, Jim Matthew and David Jayne, on Thursday June 11th from 6-10pm.
Alden Mason was born 1919 in Everett, Washington. Throughout his artistic career evidence of Mason’s time on the Skagit farm remain in his improvisational paintings. His paintings always exhibit exuberance and inventiveness in form, color, and style. Mason drew inspiration from Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, and the many different cultures he encountered while traveling.
Mason was a professor at the UW School of Art from 1949 until 1981, inspiring young artists and friends in the Pacific Northwest. Mason taught many professional artists from the Northwest, most notably Chuck Close, Roger Shimomura and Gene Gentry McMahon. As well as the featured group of Seattle artists; Pat Howie, Jim Matthew and David Jayne.
One of the most influential trips of Mason’s career happened in 1989 when he took a trip to Papua New Guinea to spend six weeks with the Huli tribe at the age of 70. There he heard stories from the tribesmen late into the night. A particular memory from this trip is that a spirit bird (would forever be painted as a blackbird lingering in background) called to the Hulis to quit telling Mason tribe secrets. This type of travel fed Mason’s interest in primitive arts, bird watching, and tribal cultures. The free-formed garish figures and spirit birds of Mason’s earlier works made their transition to contemporary pieces; this time dressed up in a brand new medium. Ever experimental, Mason’s contemporary work is based on earlier work with new additions. Contemporary works are composed on a foundation of watercolor in the style of Burpees. This watercolor peeks through thick oil stick and India ink which form windows in the shape of big heads, whimsical writing and characters from farm days past. Mason's last work covers the entire paper with design. "Each new painting promises to better translate his observations into a painterly language…I am [continually] reminded that his lack of complacency keeps him vital." Mason died on February 6, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. He was 93.
David Jayne said, "when I first met Alden Mason as a graduate student when he was the professor in the Fine Art Department at the University of Washington. Alden was of significant influence during my graduate years and beyond as a friend, mentor and advisor."
Jim Matthew says, "my paintings try to rediscover the random ebb and flow of the world around us. I then direct this randomness through an intuitive filter using a subconscious reaction to these elements, and a process that creates openness and chance to occur.
"Alden was a part of my life before I became an artist", says Pat Howie. "Years later while sharing an art studio in Ballard, we took weekly excursions around the Seattle area where he taught me to see shadow shapes, the depth of color on flowers and to watch the flight of birds overhead. He taught me to look at the world—to really look at it—to see the colors, to use my imagination, to just be a part of the environment, and then he encouraged me to take that beauty back to the studio and put it onto a canvas. When Alden slowed down and could no longer do things for himself, I was able to “give back” by helping to care for him and by being at his bedside, holding his hand as he slipped from this world."
I am proud to host this wonderful tribute exhibition by this vibrant group of artists, students and friends of Alden Mason from June 6 -26th, 2015.