Mark Grotjahn at Blum & Poe

23Mar10

A View of the Mark Grotjahn Installation at Blum & Poe

by Kelly Boyd

Layers of pigment, built up with brushes and palate knives on cardboard and canvas make up Mark Grotjahn’s Seven Faces exhibit, now showing at Blum & Poe.  Reminiscent of Picasso and drawing inspiration from Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, the exhibition features thirteen paintings, most of them quite large, and quite recent.  While the sometimes 8 by 6 feet paintings may look and feel improvised, they are not.  In fact, the studiously handmade works are intended to be read straightforwardly, with color and gesture interacting as symbols that recall the founding of Modern art.

Unapologetically abstract, the luminous, lozenge-shaped eyes of Picasso’s Demoiselles are a recurring motif and evoke the tribalism of remote civilizations. Grotjahn applies this concept to the clan of Modern artists he admires. His colorful, tactile surfaces vibrate with energy and seem make the claim that art is the totem, and artists are the tribe.

The Seven Faces exhibit runs at Blum & Poe through April 3rd.  The gallery is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

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