Born 1968, Pasadena, California
Lives and works in Los Angeles, California
Mark Grotjahn's approach to painting grows out of conceptual practices. Living in
Los Angeles, he became intrigued in the mid 1990s by the handmade signs he saw in stores.
He began to copy those he liked and presented his versions to the storeowners. Later
Grotjahn began working with colored pencils to develop "perspective drawings" and then
perspectival paintings. Each of the paintings on view has at least two vanishing points.
This convention, used since the Renaissance to create the illusion of depth and volume
on a two-dimensional surface, constitutes both the structure and the subject of these
works. While there is an almost classical clarity to the formal organization of these
paintings, tonal modulations of color play against multiple vanishing points to create
vibrant, three-dimensional surfaces. The artist has carved his initials or name into the
surfaces of some of his paintings, playfully exposing the fact that the painting lies on
top of another plane. As visitors to Grotjahn's studio learn, his earlier monochrome
abstractions began with a cartoon-like mask or face that was then ruled over and gradually
obliterated. His recent geometric works are painted on top of an abstract, gestural
Helfand, Glen. "Mark Grotjahn, Brent Petersen, Paul Sietsema." Bay Area Guardian, August 13, 1997.
Miles, Christopher. "Working Variables, Switching Games: Mark Grotjahn." Artext, no. 78 (Fall 2002): 44–51.
Pagel, David. "Trying to Fit In." Los Angeles Times, November 20, 1998.
Smith, Roberta. "Art in Review: Mark Grotjahn." New York Times, October 24, 2003.
Trainor, James. "Rates of Exchange." Frieze 78 (October 2002):16–17.
Anton Kern Gallery