Whitney Museum

Mark Grotjahn

15 Sep 2006 - 07 Jan 2007

Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Full Color Butterfly), 2006
From September15 through January 7, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist Mark Grotjahn. Grotjahn, who was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, has conceived a cycle of large-scale drawings that fill the Museum's Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Lobby Gallery. The exhibition is organized by Shamim M. Momin, Associate Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Branch Director and Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria.

Using very basic implements—colored pencil and paper—Grotjahn employs his now characteristic, multiple-vanishing point “butterfly” pattern in these works. For Grotjahn, who is also a painter, drawing has remained a central focus since his earliest work; it was in this medium that he developed the formal perspective approach for which he is best known. The radial pattern of each drawing is first precisely mapped out on the paper, followed by a dense application of colored pencil to create an unusual level of opacity. Applying a thick layer of pencil contributes a sense of weight to the two-dimensional works.

Grotjahn’s drawings generally incorporate at least two vanishing points, a convention used since the Renaissance to create the illusion of depth and volume on a two-dimensional surface. For Grotjahn, this technique creates the structure and also, in a sense, becomes the subject of the works themselves. Subtle shifts in placement of the points change the compositional balance. The percussive rhythms created by the use of color and form reverberate with a tension at times pleasurable, other times anxious or almost melancholic.

Mark Grotjahn (born 1968) lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his B.F.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and M.F.A. from University of California, Berkeley. Grotjahn has exhibited his work in solo exhibitions including Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; and an upcoming show at Anton Kern Gallery, New York, NY. His work has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions including the 2005 Carnegie International and at venues such as White Cube, London, UK; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; The Institute of Contemporary Art, The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; and P.S.1, Long Island City, NY. Grotjahn is also the recipient of the 2003 Penny McCall Foundation Award. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York,
the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

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