Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Yellow Cosco II Mask M40.l), 2016, painted bronze, 59 1/2 × 33 1/4 × 36 1/2 inches (151.1 × 84.5 × 92.7 cm) © Mark Grotjahn. Photo by Douglas M. Parker Studio
While at first glance, Mark Grotjahn's oeuvre appears bound purely to aesthetic in modernist discourse, references to nature and movement abound. His butterfly motif, one of several recurring references to the natural world, has yielded extensive permutations in both painting and drawing. The ongoing Butterfly series foregrounds modes of perspectival investigation, such as dual and multiple vanishing points— techniques used since the Renaissance to create the illusion of depth and volume on a two-dimensional surface.
These iconic compositions of complex, skewed angles and radiant, 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 elegance of Grotjahn's work is frequently tempered by visible scuffs and markings that attest to the contingencies of process in his otherwise highly controlled compositions.
Mark Grotjahn was born in 1968 in Pasadena, California. He received an M.F.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.F.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Grotjahn's work is featured in museum collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Rubell Family Collection, Miami; François Pinault Collection, Venice; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Tate Modern, London; de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, Miami; Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Solo exhibitions include “Mark Grotjahn: Drawings,” Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2005); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2006); Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland (2007); Portland Art Museum, Oregon (2010); Aspen Museum of Art, Colorado (2012); “Mark Grotjahn: Sculpture,” Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2014); and “Circus, Circus,” Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany (2014). Grotjahn’s work was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial and the 54th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, in 2004.
Grotjahn currently lives and works in Los Angeles.