Bellevue Arts Museum celebrates Northwest painter Alden Mason in new retrospective exhibition

April 13, 2021
Images: Alden Mason, Mask with Blue Eyes, 1972, Courtesy of Amjad & Helen Bangash; Rainbow Rocker, 1973, Collection of Greg Kucera & Larry Yocom; Montezuma, 1985, Collection of Kim & George Suyama; Untitled Burpee #1, 1972, Collection of Rick & Lisa Plath.

April 13, 2021
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Alden Mason: Fly Your Own Thing is on view at Bellevue Arts Museum May 14 – October 10, 2021

Bellevue, WA—Bellevue Arts Museum will present the first-ever comprehensive retrospective museum exhibition for Northwest artist Alden Mason (1919–2013). Alden Mason: Fly Your Own Thing, which opens at BAM on May 14, brings together paintings from throughout Mason’s sixty-year career, highlighting the inventive and exuberant spirit that made Chuck Close laud him as “the greatest painter to come out of the Pacific Northwest.”

The exhibition will feature over 70 works from Mason, ranging from his early watercolor studies of Deception Pass to his signature Burpee Garden series, which helped elevate Pacific Northwest art from regional status into the realm of advanced contemporary painting in the 1970s. The show will also include a selection of Mason’s tightly composed squeeze bottle paintings and Big Heads.

Born in Everett, WA in 1919, Mason earned his MFA from the University of Washington in 1947, launching what would become an extraordinarily long career as both an artist and teacher. He reinvented his style several times over the course of his artistic career, exploring and combining new techniques through his Burpee Garden series, squeeze bottle paintings, Big Heads, and later acrylic works. Although Mason traveled extensively throughout his career, he always returned to the Northwest and the Skagit Valley, drawing inspiration from every aspect of his life and the landscape around him.

While Mason’s visionary artworks helped shape the future of Northwest art, his work in the classroom inspired the next generation of artists in the region. Notable students include Roger Shimomura, Gene Gentry McMahon, and Chuck Close.

Alden Mason: Fly Your Own Thing is organized by Bellevue Arts Museum and guest curated by Roger Hull. Media sponsor: KCTS 9. In-kind support from Seattle SignShop.



Bellevue Arts Museum provides a public forum for the community to contemplate, appreciate, and discuss visual culture. We work with audiences, artists, makers, and designers to understand our shared experience of the world.