Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Gorney Bravin + Lee, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above in July 2001
Los Angeles, Blum & Poe, Mark Grotjahn, May - July 2000
New York, Gorney Bravin + Lee, New York, David Brody, Mark Grotjahn, Wade Guyton, Siobhan Liddell, January - February 2001
In Untitled (Three-tiered Perspective), Mark Grotjahn, the Los Angeles-based artist best known for his vibrant linear abstractions, challenges the time-honored relationships between space, depth and the picture plane. Grotjahn's genius lies in his revolutionary use of perspective and geometric manipulations of space. Turning Renaissance aesthetic ideology on its head, Grotjahn uses multiple vanishing points and topsy-turvy horizon lines to create deceptive spatial arenas for his viewers to navigate.
The kaleidoscopic creation that is the present work is flamboyant and electric yet deliberately enigmatic at the same time. The essence of Grotjahn's work lies in its own polarities. It is at once infinite and the banal, rational and absurd, methodical and chaotic. A graphic exploration of illusionist space, Untitled (Three-tiered Perspective) deploys colorful orthogonals which recede into three independent horizon lines, thus creating a composition with three conflicting vanishing points. Beginning in the last years of the 1990's with pencil studies and continuing in the impressive tour-de-force of the Butterfly drawings, in which the axis of his image was turned ninety degrees from a horizontal to a vertical, Grotjahn set out to manipulate the hyper-rational system of Renaissance one-point perspective, the visual embodiment of the age of reason. Thwarting these traditional notions, Grotjahn opens the eyes and minds of his viewers, expanding and multiplying Raphael and Brunelleschi's paradigms so that they flutter off the canvas like birds in flight.
Hovering between abstract geometry and idiosyncratic illusion, Grotjahn's canvases convey a sense of graphic clarity though often born out of spontaneous artistic processes. After ceremoniously drafting an infrastructure of non-parallel lines, the artist randomly chooses colors to fill in the each fragment. Though the production process embodies the artist's inherent paradox, the offspring is a seamless whole, a fluid masterpiece greater than the sum of its parts. Somehow the abstract conglomerations of irregular triangles come together to form a harmonious creation, a balanced and clear composition ironically in line with Enlightenment ideologies. Thus as viewers we are left suspended in a plane of parallel realities, questioning all that we have ever know as rational and orderly.
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