Mark Grotjahn - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Collection of the artist; L&M Arts, New York; Private collection, Europe

  • Exhibited

    New York, L&M Arts, Beyond Black, White and Gray, September 12 – October 10, 2009; Paris, Almine Rech Gallery, California Dreamin Myths and Legends of Los Angeles by Heidi Slimane, February 26 - March 26, 2011

  • Catalogue Essay

    Mark Grotjahn’s Butterfly paintings radically conflate the perspectival composition pioneered in the renaissance and the formal abstraction of modernism. He creates a subtle asymmetry by offsetting the two “vanishing points” — evoking a sense of tension between the two sides of the painting, as they appear to dynamically push against each other, creating a mesmerizing depth. Grotjahn uses his vocabulary of extremely precise geometric forms to create captivating and intriguing optical effects.

    With its nearly monochromatic appearance, Untitled (White Butterfly) is uniquely expressive and mysterious. An exploration of the most white and cream toned palette; it carries resonances of the minimalist monochromes and color explorations of Robert Ryman. Whereas Ryman is concerned with a decentered composition, Grotjahn paints his purity in a complex, monochrome layered form in what appears to be quick luminous “zip” strokes. Aligned at slightly skewed angles and closely adjacent to one another, they achieve a newly vital dynamism, animated with an Op-like flutter. Centering each work in the series is a single stroke of color from which rays (or wings)
    emanate. The effect is centered, but destabilized, a painting in motion.

    Through what seems to be seamless, easily facilitated brushstrokes, the artist simultaneously merges with the same ease geometric abstraction to
    conceptualism. These iconic compositions of complex, skewed angles and tonal color allude to the multiple narratives coursing through the history of modernist painting, from the utopian vision of Russian Constructivism to the hallucinatory images of Op Art. The paintings are essentially monochromatic, but the luster of the painted surface vibrates and oscillates.


Untitled (White Butterfly)

Acrylic on canvas.
30 x 30 in. (76.2 x 76.2 cm.)
Initialed “M” lower left and “G” lower right.

$300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for $422,500

Contemporary Art Part I

12 May 2011
New York