Tobey's friend Elizabeth Bayley Willis showed Tobey's painting Bars and Flails to Jackson Pollock in 1944. Pollock studied the painting closely and then painted Blue Poles, a painting that made history when the Australian government bought it for $2 million. Pollock's biographers write: "...[Tobey's] dense web of white strokes, as elegant as Oriental calligraphy, impressed Jackson so much that in a letter to Louis Bunce he described Tobey, a West Coast artist, as an 'exception' to the rule that New York was 'the only real place in America where painting (in the real sense) can come thru'" (Jackson Pollock). Jackson Pollock went to all of Mark Tobey's Willard Gallery shows in New York. Here, Tobey presented small to medium sized canvases, approximately 33 by 45 inches. Jackson Pollock would see them and go home and blow them up to twelve by nine feet, pouring paint onto the canvas instead of brushing it on. Pollock was never really concerned with diffused light. But he was very interested in Tobey's idea of covering the entire canvas with marks up to and including its edges. This had never been done before in American art.more
The significance of his Faith in relation to his art is something that Tobey himself acknowledged on many occasions. "The root of all religions, from the Bahá'í point of view, is based on the theory that man will gradually come to understand the unity of the world and the oneness of mankind," Tobey wrote in 1934. "It teaches that all the prophets are one - that science and religion are the two great powers which must be balanced if man is to become mature. I feel my work has been influenced by these beliefs. I've tried to decentralize and interpenetrate so that all parts of a painting are of related value... Mine are the Orient, the Occident, science, religion, cities, space, and writing a picture."