George Tsutakawa: Early Works on Paper @ Cascadia Art Museum

A PNW master 🖊️

📸: Courtesy of Cascadia Art Museum

On display until March 26th • Open Wednesdays – Sundays

All you need to do is walk around Seattle to understand how important the late Japanese-American artist and University of Washington professor George Tsutakawa is to its cityscape. If you start at the Seattle Central Library downtown, the Fountain of Wisdom will greet you by spurting globs of water out of its bronze, modernist body. Walk a couple of blocks south and you’ll find yourself outside the King County Administration Building, where Tsutakawa’s shiny, wormy Sandworm floats outside its entrance. Perhaps best known for these kinds of sculptures and fountains—on display worldwide—these works are just one part of Tsutakawa’s celebrated oeuvre

Up at the Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds, a show called George Tsutakawa: Early Works on Paper allows viewers to explore the watercolors, block prints, and other paper-based artworks Tsutakawa made early in his career. “He was always studying; he was always curious,” Tsutakawa’s daughter, Mayumi, told the Seattle Times about her father’s work. The influence of abstract cubism and surrealism is apparent in works like “Fort Snelling,” which emphasizes the sharp edges of the Minnesota fort where Tsutakawa taught Japanese. Pulled from Tsutakawa’s estate holdings, many of these pieces are being displayed to the public for the very first time. It’s an excellent opportunity to poke through the early works of a PNW master. 

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An author pic of Jas Keimig. They have blue braids.

Jas Keimig

Jas Keimig is an arts and culture writer in Seattle. Their work has previously appeared in The Stranger, i-D, Netflix, and Feast Portland. They won a game show once and have a thing for stickers.