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PRINT June 1962

Mark Tobey

THE WEST COAST LOOKS OVER over the Pacific and beyond to the Orient—and so a West Coast magazine of art begins by honoring Mark Tobey.

Study Tobey’s painting. At first glance it seems to suggest a group of haloed Gothic figures from the facade of a French cathedral, but then you look closer and begin to wonder. Those figures on their pulsating red ground—are they really Gothic or do they involve the memory of Byzantine icons, mosaics, and churchly frescoes? And still a third possibility presents itself, for one has seen Bodhisattvas assembled like that in more than one painted Tibetan heaven. Tobey’s composition in verticals reminds one that China and Japan read, not as we do, from left to right, but from top to bottom, and the white line by which Tobey directs vertical perception is as calligraphic as that of any Japanese scribe.

The ambiguity of his figures—Christian and Buddhist, European,

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