Painting is still a question of color and matter coming together and how pigment has to behave in a certain way.
Gagosian is pleased to present new paintings and drawings by Brice Marden.
These works continue Marden’s Letter series, in which networks of calligraphic lines and strokes weave through fields of color and tone. Marden begins these paintings by filling the canvas with script-like glyphs, working in columns from top to bottom, right to left. He then links these initial markings through a network of lines, creating webs and threads across the surface of the canvas. As he paints in layers, Marden scrapes away at excess paint on the surface of the canvas, diffusing his lines and allowing a complex play of color, weight, and distance to develop in the pictorial space as he works the canvas deeper into abstraction.
Six paintings, each measuring six feet tall by ten feet wide, were made in Tivoli—the location of Marden’s upstate New York home and studio—where the seasonal changes of the surrounding Northeastern landscape and light frequently influence his use of color. Marden’s body of work has had ties to calligraphic, script-like markings throughout his career, notably in the late 1980s with his Cold Mountain Studies. More recently, the Letter paintings were initially inspired by a poem by Huang Tingjian, a Chinese calligrapher, painter, and poet of the Song dynasty. In these new works, however, Marden experiments with whites, greens, oranges, and vibrant yellows—shades that have until now rarely occurred in his palette. In each of these large-scale paintings, Marden leaves a panel of blank color on either side of the canvas, guiding the viewer’s eye to the interlocking lines at its square center.
Four vertical ink-on-paper works are also on view. Made predominantly in dark purples, greens, and reds, the colored lines of Marden’s overmarkings sit at varying depths—the bright, light-colored markings in yellow and green often contrasting dramatically with the dark backgrounds.
Five smaller paintings, each measuring three by five feet, were made at Marden’s studio on the Caribbean island of Nevis. Their rectangular, light-grey backgrounds form a field for the central square of action in the paintings. In two new paintings, gridded dots, rather than curved lines, are rendered in dark blotches of color—a pattern familiar from Marden’s workbook drawings. For more than a decade, Marden carried a workbook with him, as he developed a series of abstract drawings based on a geometric or gridded background. Earlier this year, all of the drawings from this workbook were exhibited for the first time at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech, Morocco, and then at Gagosian Paris. In these new paintings, gridded dots again become the basis for interwoven smudges and lines.
This exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with a text by John Elderfield.
A facsimile of Marden’s original workbook, published by Gagosian in 2019, is available in the Gagosian Shop.
Private Pages Made Public
Megan N. Liberty explores artists’ engagement with notebooks and diaries, thinking through the various meanings that arise when these private ledgers become public.
The River Café Cookbook
London’s River Café, a culinary mecca perched on a bend in the River Thames, celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2018. To celebrate this milestone and the publication of her cookbook River Café London, cofounder Ruth Rogers sat down with Derek Blasberg to discuss the famed restaurant’s allure.
Intimate Grandeur: Glenstone Museum
Paul Goldberger tracks the evolution of Mitchell and Emily Rales’s Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland. Set amid 230 acres of pristine landscape and housing a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art, this graceful complex of pavilions, designed by architects Thomas Phifer and Partners, opened to the public in the fall of 2018.
Brice Marden: Four Quartets
Four paintings by Brice Marden have been incorporated into a new dance commission based on T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, with choreography by Pam Tanowitz, and music by Kaija Saariaho. The performance will premiere on July 6, 2018 at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard as part of the SummerScape Festival. Gideon Lester, the Fisher Center’s artistic director for theater and dance, spoke with Marden about the canvases that form the set design.
Robert Pincus-Witten on Brice Marden
In honor of Robert Pincus-Witten, we share an essay he wrote in 1991 on Brice Marden’s Grove Group.
Brice Marden, Gary Hume, and Tim Marlow
At the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Brice Marden sat down with fellow painter Gary Hume and the Royal Academy’s artistic director, Tim Marlow, to discuss his newest body of work.
It reminds me of something, and I don’t know what it is.
Brice Marden: It reminds me of something, and I don’t know what it is. is available for online reading from June 15 through July 14 as part of the From the Library series. Published on the occasion of the 2019 exhibition at Gagosian, 980 Madison Avenue, New York, the catalogue features full-color reproductions of Marden’s latest body of paintings and works on paper, which continues the Letter series he initiated in 2006. The book includes a new essay by John Elderfield, in which the curator and art historian discusses the new works in the context of modernist painting and of Marden’s oeuvre, and investigates the allusions the works seem to make.
Brice Marden: It reminds me of something, and I don’t know what it is. (New York: Gagosian, 2020)