Mark Grotjahn
Butterfly Paintings
May 1June 21, 2014


May 1—June 21, 2014

Blum & Poe is pleased to announce the inaugural exhibition of its New York gallery at 19 East 66th Street. Mark Grotjahn: Butterfly Paintings, curated by Douglas Fogle, will be a select survey of this important series of paintings by the Los Angeles-based artist. Consisting of loans from private collections as well as public institutions, the exhibition will illustrate the evolution of Grotjahn’s butterfly paintings with seminal examples dated between 2001 and 2008.

The butterfly paintings, whose name derives from their wing-like, formal qualities, hold a key place within the development of Grotjahn’s body of work. The artist employed a strategy of nearly compulsive repetition and reiteration of rules and stylistic elements – variations on a theme in the lines radiating­ from their central spines  – which allowed the artist to experiment within a circumscribed set of conceptual limits. With contextual influences ranging widely from the history of geometric modernism in the works of artists such as Mondrian and Malevich, to experiments in musical and filmic composition and typographic design, Grotjahn’s butterflies playfully blur the once rigorous boundaries between representation and abstraction, between surface and depth, and between the conceptual and the concrete in artistic production.

In the works on view, we see an artist setting up an experimental station for the study of the evolution of the painterly line, in which the butterfly is the end result. The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to see the implications of these experiments in the concrete formation of an artist’s vision over a condensed period of time. A catalog will be produced in conjunction with the exhibition and will include an essay by Douglas Fogle, images of the individual paintings, and installation photographs of the works in the new gallery.

Mark Grotjahn (b. 1968) holds a B.F.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder and an M.F.A from the University of California Berkeley. He has upcoming solo exhibitions at the Kunstverein Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany and the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX. Past solo exhibitions include venues such as the Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO; Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; Kunstmuseum Thun, Thun, Switzerland; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA. He has been included in numerous group exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; New Museum, New York, NY; Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA.