On view at Gagosian’s uptown exhibition space, artist Brice Marden has compiled a selection of pieces that continue his investigations of the languages of modernity, and the histories of abstraction that have informed his work over the past few decades. Marking in particular a continuation of his “Letter” series, the works on view incorporate networks of calligraphic lines and strokes, woven through fields of color and tone.
Marden begins these process-intensive works by filling the canvas with script-like glyphs, working in columns from top to bottom, right to left as if exploring and reworking the logic of writing itself before linking 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. These are a series of connections both explored and reworked, turned inwards to explore complex internal logics and personal impulses as the artist continues to revise and edit his compositional architecture.
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 influenced his use of color. The works, by this logic, seem to imply a sort of gradual shifting in season and landscape, the movement of time borne out on the surface of the work in a way that underscores the complexity and depth of the work’s construction. Marden experiments with whites, greens, oranges, and vibrant yellows—shades that have until now rarely occurred in his palette, leaving a panel of blank color on either side of the canvas, guiding the viewer’s eye to the interlocking lines at its square center.
Five smaller paintings, each measuring three by five feet, made at Marden’s studio on the Caribbean island of Nevis are also on view. Their rectangular, light-grey backgrounds form a field for the central square of action in the paintings, creating intriguing iterations of the same language explored elsewhere, with works allowing both complex networks of gesture, and intriguing use of space to drive their graphical crux home.
— D. Creahan
Brice Marden at Gagosian [Exhibition Site]