Decidedly Northwestern

​Review of Modernism in the Pacific Northwest at Seattle Art Museum by Hattie Sanders

Mark Tobey Forms Follow Man

Unsurprisingly, the Seattle Art Museum does not fail to impress with their current Modernism in the Pacific Northwest exhibition.

Even with no knowledge of the title and just a few minutes in the gallery, anyone would know that this is artwork from the Pacific Northwest. There is a miraculous similarity in colors, mainly featuring darker earth tones that scream Pacific Northwestern. I was actually quite surprised at the overall completeness of the color scheme, even between artists.

The paintings in the exhibition are grouped by artist, with four artists featured with substantially more paintings and whole rooms devoted to their works. I was impressed by the selection, which features not only Northwestern style art but a large category of art with strong Japanese influences. Despite these influences from the other side of the globe, even that art still implies the Northwest. There are some interesting pieces that were affected by World War II, as many of the paintings were completed in the late ‘30s and early ‘40s.

Of the four artists referred to by SAM as “the mystics,” my personal favorite is Mark Tobey. His paintings largely consist of crowds of people, and the amazing thing about them is that despite having an immensely large amount of people in the painting you can still see a story behind every face.

Seattle Art Museum did a wonderful job grouping and displaying the art, and the exhibition has a good selection in general. Gravitating around the common theme of the Pacific Northwest, each and every piece connects back to that. I definitely enjoyed seeing this exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum and recommend it to anyone who enjoys art and would love seeing some representation of the Pacific Northwest.

Modernism in the Pacific Northwest
Seattle Art Museum
June 19 - September 7

TeenTix Logo
Sign Up


Create an account | Reset your password