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 to be bound to purely aesthetic in modernist discourse, references to nature and movement are plentiful. His butterfly motif, one of several recurring connections to the natural world along with flowers and water, has yielded extensive possibilities in both painting and drawing. His ongoing Butterfly series focuses on perspectival investigations, 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 extreme elegance of Grotjahn's works is often 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 studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine, and then received his B.F.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and his M.F.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. Grotjahn’s work has been exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions. Recent solo museum exhibitions include “Drawings,” The Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles (2005); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2006); Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland (2007); Portland Art Museum, Oregon (2010); Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2012); “Circus, Circus,” Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany (2014); and “Sculpture,” Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2014). His work is included 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 Museum, Santa Monica; SFMOMA, San Francisco; 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.
Grotjahn currently lives and works in Los Angeles.