Visual Art Objectives:
- Create: Identify and use different qualities of lines.
- Perceive: Identify techniques for creating repetitive lines.
- Understand: Compare compositions with "more" and "less" visual texture.
- Vocabulary: Line quality, dominant, secondary, line direction, focal point.
Print: Broadway 1936 Original Size: 24 7/8" H x 18 1/8" W
Artist: Mark Tobey (1890 - 1976) (TOE-bee, mark)
Mark Tobey was born in 1890, Centerville, Wisconsin and died in 1976 in Switzerland. An American painter, he was largely self-taught. Tobey was a successful commercial and portrait artist while in New York. He traveled during the depression to China and Japan and while there studied calligraphy and Zen Buddhism. Tobey developed his style of painting called "white writing.” "White writing" employed white ink against a colored background in a calligraphic style. In later works, he used mazes, nets, and masses of lines as subjects. Space for Tobey was more than visual; it was a living thing, never empty but full of life. Tobey saw this as motion. Through "white writing" he was able to catch and freeze movements. No other technique afforded him this expression. Tobey is known as a “Northwest
Visionary” artist and lived in the Seattle University District during the 1950’s. The Seattle and Tacoma Art Museums have several of Mark Tobey’s paintings in their permanent collections.
Where is Broadway? Does every town have a Broadway? (Take in several maps of large cities.) What Broadway does Mark Tobey have in mind for the subject of this work? We know that Mark Tobey considered his compositions to be "full of life" - What is happening in this picture? What kind of feeling or impression does he want the viewer to have? What objects do you recognize? What time of day does he depict? What are the qualities of many neon signs at night? Do you see repeated shapes that convey people, buildings, trains, cars, and flashing signs? What is the dominant color? How does he use white? What kinds of sights would there be in a big town?
(List on board - buildings, billboards, people, movie theaters, apartments, restaurants, cars, taxis, etc.) Can you find some of those things here? What noises? (Play American in Paris by Gershwin.) Notice how he has used the whole canvas to depict this crowded and busy cityscape. Notice how he has stacked things upward.