Anton Kern

Mark Grotjahn

18 Jan - 28 Feb 2007

Blue Paintings Light to Dark One through Ten

January 3, 2007—The title of the exhibition is the most concise description of the works on view: Blue Paintings Light to Dark One through Ten. After Mark Grotjahn!s recent solo show of drawings at the Whitney Museum, this is the first presentation of paintings in New York in four years and his second solo show at Anton Kern Gallery.

For this body of blue monochrome “butterfly” paintings, Mark Grotjahn primed each one with a layer of radiant orange-red paint. In some cases he added a brush drawing of a mask-like face and thereby, in conjunction with the warm under-color, hinting—almost imperceptibly—at the painter!s larger project: employing a rigorously systematic approach (geometry and monochromatic color) to generate images of remarkable emotional force. Grotjahn then methodically applies rays of blue paint, starting from a central point, one shade of blue per ray, always leaving a vertical strip of blue in the center and along the margins. Light is captured in the texture of the brush strokes following the segments! radial direction.
In what he calls “butterfly” paintings, Grotjahn builds a sensory world, gripped by curiosity and wonder, the visible and the invisible, in which we encounter the specters of modernism, and indeed, in which we find our perception transformed from pure optical sensation into motive power and emotional energy.

Grotjahn's work has been presented in solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2006-07) and the Hammer Museum of Art (2005). His work has most recently been included in Painting in Tongues at LA MoCA, the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum, Gone Formalism at the ICA, Philadelphia (all 2006), as well as the Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2004). Grotjahn’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The exhibition opens on Friday, January 19 and will run through Saturday, February 28, 2007. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am - 6 pm. For further information and images, please contact Joshua Smith, Christoph Gerozissis or Michael Clifton at (t) 212.367.9663, (f) 212.367.8135 or email:

Upcoming exhibitions: Wilhelm Sasnal (March 8 – April 14, 2007)

© Mark Grotjahn
Untitled (Angry Flower),2004
Oil and enamel paint, mixed media on canvas
89 x 60 inches
Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery, NY

Tags: Mark Grotjahn, Wilhelm Sasnal