Nasher Sculpture Center Announces Mark Grotjahn Sculpture

The Nasher Sculpture Center is pleased to present Mark Grotjahn Sculpture from May 31 to August 17, 2014.

The Nasher’s exhibition, the first museum presentation to focus exclusively on Grotjahn’s sculpture, will highlight many new, never-before-seen, three-dimensional works.

"Even for those who have followed Mark Grotjahn's work closely, the sculptures in this exhibition may surprise,” said Nasher Director Jeremy Strick. “Varying markedly in scale and proportion, and dramatically marked by the artist's hands and remnants of the casting process, these objects--derived from the most humble of materials--speak to Mark Grotjahn's ever increasing sculptural ambition and confidence. While they reference essential themes in the history of modern sculpture, these works still shock by their audacity and beauty."

Los Angeles-based artist Mark Grotjahn came to prominence for large, richly worked paintings that evoke aspects of both the modernist tradition as well as the contemporary revival of interest in the medium. In two different series—the Face and the Butterfly paintings—Grotjahn used essential subjects to explore textures, colors, and form with refreshing boldness and almost hallucinogenic intensity. Alongside his paintings, Grotjahn has been working privately on sculpture for over a decade. 

Ranging in size from medium to large-scale free standing works, the sculptures derive from common cardboard boxes and tubes that have been combined and cut to roughly resemble masks or faces, then scraped, cast in bronze, and either left raw or elaborately painted. Grotjahn has intentionally retained the bronze remnants of the wax casting sprues used to feed molten bronze to the sculpted form and remove steam during the lost-wax casting process. The resulting constructions are a complex hybrid of sculpture and painting, often strongly declaring themselves as sculptural objects while simultaneously dissolving into lusciously painted surfaces. 

Grotjahn’s sculptures rehearse and revise many of the key themes in modern art, including the complex relationship of modernism to tribal arts, and the interplay between abstraction and figuration. Rough and rudimentary, as well as vibrantly colorful and at times sensuous and elegant, Grotjahn’s sculptures employ the essential minimalist form—the box—and extend the exploration of the painted object practiced by modern artists like Pablo Picasso, Jean Dubuffet, and Alberto Giacometti. 

A free didactic brochure available at the admission desk will provide additional information for better understanding Mark Grotjahn’s extraordinary painted sculptures with the contexts of the artist’s development and the art of previous century.  The exhibition also will be accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalogue featuring a new essay by noted scholar John C. Welchman, Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the University of California, San Diego.  Mark Grotjahn Sculpture is generously underwritten by Resolution Capital, LLC, Iris and Adam Singer, and Cindy and Howard Rachofsky.


Mark Grotjahn Sculpture at the Nasher Sculpture Center