MARK GROTJAHN: Butterfly Paintings and Drawings

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The so-called Butterfly paintings and drawings of Mark Grotjahn (American, b. 1968) combine analytical hard-edged abstraction and one-point perspective to make 2D images appear as 3D objects. This type of abstraction is the means by which the perspective system reveals itself—and vice versa. They consist of two distinct phenomenological and theoretical universes that neither cancel each other out, nor represent anything. With two means and no ends, one would expect a more ascetic, conceptual type of image, but Grotjahn’s paintings are lavishly decorative and unabashedly entertaining. This lack of anxiety about the picture plane, flatness, figuration and illusionism is the clearest sign that the modernist endgame has either ended or come full circle.

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