Art: Seattle Tangler

Mark Tobey,* one of the Northwest's strangest and most famed painters, last week got the top recognition of his 60 years: San Francisco staged a big retrospective show in his honor. The pictures on exhibit dated back to 1917, when Tobey was painting reasonably realistic and somewhat prosaic still lifes and portraits. Since then, he has taken to reducing scenes and figures to luminous scribbles and to producing out & out abstractions—loose, slippery tangles of white lines that look as if they might have been inspired by a dish of spaghetti.

The exhibition catalogue quoted Tobey as explaining that "multiple space bounded...

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