Anton Kern

Mark Grotjahn

05 May - 25 Jun 2011

© Mark Grotjahn
Untitled (Into the White Waterfall Face 41.28), 2010
Oil on cardboard mounted on linen
96 3/8 x 74 3/4 inches
Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery, NY
5 May – 25 June, 2011

April 20, 2011—Mark Grotjahn’s third solo show at Anton Kern Gallery is comprised of nine large-scale Face paintings. In an apparent departure from the monochrome Butterfly paintings of his 2007 gallery show, the new works are based on the simple geometric structure of eyes, nose, and mouth. The Face paintings are polychrome, made up of innumerable ropy lines of color, and built-up in relief-like and tactile layers of thick, lively paint. The motif of the face, however, has been a constant, although often invisible, presence in Grotjahn’s work, not only as a model for symmetry, but also as an underlying initial gesture of a face brushed onto the canvas before becoming obscured by the subsequent painting process.
In the catalog essay (to be published in June), painter Carroll Dunham describes the phenomenon of Grotjahn’s faces: “[They] are readable to varying degrees from painting to painting in the torrents of colored lines that are the basic unit of activity. [...] They weave complex spaces that may really be the subject of the work. Faces are the nominal subject, but the lines seem to pass around and through them, almost as though the faces are already physically present and the lines cascade over them like fast water over rocks, revealing their contours by inference.” Grotjahn’s new paintings demonstrate that the spirit of the face – wild, untamed, animalistic, free and limitless – motivates the artist’s entire oeuvre.
Mark Grotjahn was born in 1968 in Pasadena, California. He received his MFA from the University of California, Berkeley, and his BFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Recent solo exhibitions include the Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland (2007); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2006); and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2005). His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

Tags: Carroll Dunham, Mark Grotjahn