Mark Grotjahn, Los Angeles, 2015.
Hardcover, 72 pp., color illustrations, 11 x 9 inches.
Catalogue of the exhibition Fifteen Paintings held at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. Fifteen Paintings marked the artist’s seventh solo presentation at Blum & Poe and followed recent exhibitions of Grotjahn’s Circus paintings at Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany and his Turkish Forest series at Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy.
Furthering his exploration into the possibilities of non-representational painting, Grotjahn digs deeper into motifs developed nearly a decade ago in his earliest Face paintings. From 2013-2015 Grotjahn made a suite of fifteen oil paintings on cardboard mounted on canvas, each scaled at approximately 50 x 40 inches and informally referred to as “Indians” and “Non-Indians,” distinguishable by their respective color palettes and unique compositions. Grotjahn employs a palette knife to drag, scrape, and feather densely woven layers of oil paint. Aggressively worked from the center of the painting, the impasto offers a glimpse into the many layers of color comprising the composition. Reds, yellows, blues, purples, and greens explode forward from darkened backgrounds. In some areas, the texture of raw cardboard is still visible. Extending beyond the vertical edges, thick accumulations have been left exposed. As one carefully observes and appreciates the complexity of the process, the generosities of the works as a whole are revealed.