new-york

Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Distinguished Multiple V’s Late Monet Face 41.34), 2010, oil on cardboard mounted on linen, 119 3/8 x 84 3/8".

Mark Grotjahn

Anton Kern Gallery

Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Distinguished Multiple V’s Late Monet Face 41.34), 2010, oil on cardboard mounted on linen, 119 3/8 x 84 3/8".

Anyone walking into Anton Kern Gallery and expecting to see a suite of Mark Grotjahn’s ubiquitous Butterfly paintings would have been taken aback. Myself included. For instead of the those well-known abstractions, in which monochromatic spokes in various hues radiate from a vertical midline, there were riotous paint fields manipulated by a palette knife, coalescing into eyes and entire heads. Yet the panels in Grotjahn’s “Nine Faces” follow from his preceding efforts, both in structure and, perhaps, in their development via an additive process, meaning that although the show represents a difference, it is not one for which we should have been wholly unprepared. Indeed, the bilateral symmetry of the butterflies emerges from the human face, the presence of which actually subtends the penultimate abstract compositions (Grotjahn first applies figurative layers, which he then insistently

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