Richard Gilkey, Quiet Field, c. 1970



Mary Randlett, photograph of Richard Gilkey with Quiet Field, February 1970, University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, PH Coll 723

SMATE - lobby: Richard Gilkey, Quiet Field, ca. 1970. Oil on masonite, 5.75'h x 20'w. Funded through the WWU Capital Art Program.


Richard Gilkey (1925-1997) was a native of Bellingham and spent his career between the Skagit Valley and Seattle. Considered a younger member of the Northwest School, he was deeply influenced and encouraged by the artists Morris Graves, Mark Tobey, and Guy Anderson. He was inspired by their mystic philosophy and, like they, he sought to capture “universal aspects of reality and consciousness through light and form." The large painting at SMATE (which was originally commissioned for Bond Hall) is a strong example of Gilkey’s abstract style. It speaks to the unity of energy in all forms, with a surreal floating black oval infusing it with symbolic meaning. The canvas is covered by diagonal brushstrokes of white, black, gray and brown waves, recalling the characteristic wind-blown grasses of the artist’s landscape paintings.