719 S. King St.
Seattle, WA 98104
Collage was both an art and an inherited tradition for the late Northwest master Paul Horiuchi (1906–1999). Back in Japan, from whence he emigrated as a teen, there was the old shikishi mode of torn-paper collage. By the time the former Wyoming railroad worker reached Seattle after World War II, he was transitioning out of landscapes and urban scenes, falling under the sway of Mark Tobey and other Northwest modernists. Very much a cross-cultural talent, Horiuchi made hybrid art in his collages, creating abstract studies that could—if you stare at them long enough—suggest the rocks, mountains, and waves of his adopted home. His inspiration in the '50s was avowedly the torn old handbills he saw posted in Chinatown; and bits of calligraphy and other found scraps would sometimes be incorporated into his collage work. Still, it's the purely formal arrangement of color and shape—like his most public and recognized work, the 1962 Mural Amphitheater at Seattle Center—that got him into SAM and made him widely known. I was lucky enough to grow up in a home with a Horiuchi collage on the wall, and its contours are as familiar to me still as our family's backyard. Horiuchi's work is layered with local texture and history; even the paper came from our forests nearby. Paper Unbound: Horiuchi and Beyond presents his work, and that of other artists, through July 14. BRIAN MILLER
This group show is intended to spark dialogue about how people talk about ethnicity.
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