JUNE + JULY 2021 | ALDEN MASON: A TEACHER'S LEGACY

 

 

Alden Mason

A Teacher's Legacy 

On view now at Foster/White Gallery is a selection of work by students of Mason's during his 32 year tenure at the University of Washington. The works reflect the types of assignments and exercises he gave to his students, as well as Mason's singular approach in imparting his artistic knowledge, ease, and processes. Proceeds from the sale of these reasonably priced pieces will be used by the Alden Mason Foundation to establish a scholarship for Fine Arts Students at the University of Washington.
The pieces range broadly in media and style and include work from design, watercolor, mixed media and drawing classes Mason taught. The grouping includes a watercolor painting created by Chuck Close, a student of Mason's in the late 1950s. Foster/White Gallery will be auctioning this piece, with the proceeds going to the Alden Mason Foundation. 

Mason was an inspiration and mentor to his students, many of whom have contributed their memories of and experiences with the artist to the exhibition text. They talk of Mason as full of life, vibrant, and dynamic, with a passion for dancing and a love of nature that filled his paintings.  

 Alden Mason, Primal Baskets, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 42 inches
"I took many independent studies with Alden. The 4 & 5 year painting students shared a classroom where we could set up our spaces and leave them. Professors would come to this space and talk with us about our work. When we started, Alden thought my work was too dark and brooding. He encouraged me to have humor and color - a sense of fun. It's always in my mind as I work."
- Allison Collins

“[...] He always seemed to be just back from, or heading out for a fishing trip, and always wore his Fred Flintstone style fishing hat in the building. The class was loosely based on the landscape, and I remember him telling us that the ground was usually and surprisingly lighter than the background - or sky because of the light coming from above. He was very amusing and lighthearted, but took the act of art-making very seriously, and I think he made a good impression on all of us.” - Whiting Tennis

"[...]He asked everyone to gather around and instructed us that we were to paint something unique that resonated with our own personal perspective. The constraints he said, were that we could use only three colors, black, white and gray and that we could only paint the objects he provided. This he said was often the challenge in life, to make something beautiful out of what life provides and be prepared to change course. It was this lesson, more than any others, that stuck with me over the years and provided the key to solving enumerable quandaries. [...]" - Deb Hunter

"[...] His entire being danced with such energy, that he seemed to shake with life. His voice would shudder with laughter,
even as he gave a student the most devastating of criticism. [...]"
- Linda Beaumont

"[...] He loved sharing the joy of making art with all of us, his students, colleagues and friends. He had ambition for himself, and for all of us as well...he wanted every one of us to have a successful career. [...]"
- Gene Gentry McMahon

Alden Mason’s retrospective exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Museum, Fly Your Own Thing, is on view through October 10, 2021. Greg Kucera Gallery will be showing a selection of Mason's painting and drawing through- July 10, 2021, as well as watercolor paintings by Ray Hill, Mason’s instructor and mentor.
Alden Mason held a BFA and an MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle. He had his first solo exhibition in 1946 at Henry Art Gallery, and his work was shown extensively, including at Boise Art Museum, Boise, ID; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA; Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA; and San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA to name a few. His paintings are part of dozens of Museum and University collections including San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA; Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, IL; and Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA. Alden Mason passed away in February, 2013. He was 93.
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