Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Mark Tobey (1890 – 1976)


One of the earliest American abstract expressionist painters; he was born in Centerville, Wisconsin.
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Mark Tobey
..there has been 32 isms since the advent of cubism, yet after all there are essentially the same two old strings, the Romantic and the Classical. Weíve just be confused by the storm. Science and psychology have played a great part to say nothing of sex.
Tobey quotes
I have many ideas for lights. I will paint only lights at night. (on the twinkling city-lights, fh)
Tobey
An artist must find his expression closely linked to his individual experience or else follow in the old grooves resulting in lifeless forms.




Tobey Mark quotes
But there was escape, too, even in those days, for there was Whistler living in the grey mists with a faded orange moon. The nocturne transformed itself into dreamy rooms with Chopinís music creating a mood that softened the hard core of self.
Tobey Mark
Our ground today is not so much the national or the regional ground as it is the understanding of this single earth. The earth has been round for some time now, but not in manís relation to man, nor in the understanding of the arts of each as a part of that roundness. As usual we have occupied ourselves too much with the outer, the objective, at the expense of the inner world wherein tie true roundness lies.. ..America more than any other country is placed geographically to lead in this understanding., and if from past methods of behaviour she has constantly looked towards Europe, today she must assume her position, Janus-faced, toward Asia, for in not too long a time the waves of the Orient shall wash heavily upon her shores. All this is deeply related with her growth in the arts, particularly upon the Pacific slopes. Of this I am aware. Naturally my work will reflect such a condition and so it is not surprising to me when an Oriental responds to a painting of mine as well as an American or an European..
Mark Tobey quotes
I am accused often of too much experimentation.., but what else should I do when all other factors of man are in the same condition. I thrust forward into space as science and the rest do.
Mark Tobey
Reality must be expressed by a physical symbol.
Tobey Mark quotes
..white lines in movement symbolize a unifying idea which flows through the compartmented units of life bringing the consciousness of a larger relativity. (statement concerning his painting ĎThreading Lightí)
Tobey
We all feel a separateness; we wish that a drop of water would soften our ego; the world needs a common conscience: agreement.. ..we must concentrate outside ourselves.
Tobey Mark
We have tried to fit man into abstraction, but he does not fit.
Mark Tobey
Every artistís problem today is: What will we do with the human?




Mark Tobey quotes
England collapses, turns Chinese with English and American thoughts. Thousands of Chinese characters are turning and twisting; every door is a shop. The rickshaws jostle the vendors, their backs hung with incredible loads. The narrow streets are alive in a way that Broadway isnít alive. Here all is human, even the beasts of burden. The human energy spills itself in multiple forms, writhes, sweats and strains every muscle towards the dayís bowl of rice. The din is terrific.
Mark Tobey
The Cubists used the figure, but they broke it up. (in conversation with Seitz).
Tobey quotes
My first lesson in relativity: ..we had a still life set-up to paint. Suddenly I saw that the pitcher was so big (his hands outside the shape of a pitcher, then close in) and the glass was so big. From that time on everything was all right. ((remembering his Saturday morning painting class)
Tobey Mark
I have just had my first lesson in Chinese brush from my friend and artists Teng Kwei. The tree is no more solid in the earth, breaking into lesser solids in the earth, breaking into lesser solids bathed in chiaroscuro. There is pressure and release. Each movement, like tracks in the snow, is recorded and often loved for itself. The Great Dragon is breathing sky, thunder and shadow; wisdom and spirit vitalized. All is in motion now.. .. One step backward into the past and the tree in front of my studio in Seattle is all rhythm, lifting, springing upward.
Tobey Mark quotes
..two men dressed in white jeans with white caps on their heads.. .. climbing over a large sign of white letters. Of course, the words spell something, but that is unimportant. What is important is their white, and the white of the letters..
Mark Tobey
On the third floor of Manningís Coffee Shop in the Farmerís Market in Seattle confronting the Sound, the windows are opaque with fog. Sitting here in the long deserted room, I feel suspended enveloped by a white silence. Two floors below, the farmers are bending over their long rows of fruit and vegetables; washing and arranging their produce under intense lights shaded by circular green shades. Above, where I sit, the world seems obliterated from all save memory; abstracted without the feeling of being divorced from oneís roots. My eye keeps focusing upon the opaque windows (an equivalent of the picture plane). Suddenly the vision is disturbed by the shape of a gull floating silently across the width of the window ( a line of movement drawn across the picture surface. Then space again. In opposing lines to the gullís flight, the Sound moves northward through the Inland Passage.. .. It is true that trains run daily out of Seattle to points East and South, but my mind takes but little cognisance of this fact. To me Seattle seems pocketed. There is only one way out: Alaska, toward the North! Swerving to the South, there is the Orient, although in San Francisco I feel the Orient rolling in with its tides. My imagination, it would seem, has its own geography.
Mark Tobey quotes
Now it seems to me that we are in a universalising period.. .. If we are to have world peace, we should have an understanding of all the idioms of beauty because the members of humanity who have created these idioms of beauty are going to be a part of us. And I would say that we are in a period when we are discovering and becoming acquainted with these idioms for the first time.
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