Brice Marden

Paintings on Marble


May 8 - June 27, 2004
521 W 21 Street
Opening Saturday, May 8, 2004


Press Release

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Brice Marden: Paintings on Marble, the next exhibition in his gallery at 521 West 21st Street.

This exhibition will consist of six small paintings made between 1981 and 1987. Executed in oil on marble fragments, the paintings were produced on the Greek island of Hydra, which the artist first started visiting in 1971.

Marden made a total of 31 paintings on marble. The six-year period in which he executed these works coincided with enormous changes in his more publicly-exhibited paintings: in 1981, before he began working on marble, Marden's paintings were principally geometric monochromes; 1987, the date of his last painting on marble, marks the first public exhibition of his calligraphic paintings. According to the artist, it was the introduction of the diagonal in the marble fragments that helped serve as a stepping stone from rectilinear to more organic form.

As Klaus Kertess notes, marble presented "an ideal transitional material that was weighty as matter, porous and transparent as surface. Thinly painted straight lines soaked into and became part of the surface transparency. Simple, overlapping rectilinear configurations extended their man-made edges to the organic irregularities of the edges of the marble—edges often painted the colors of the interior configurations and concluding them."

Last exhibited over two decades ago, the paintings on marble are the least well-known part of Marden's oeuvre. Now that we have a twenty-year perspective on them, perhaps we can better understand the principal role they played in Marden's transition from the more minimal work of the 1960s and 70s to the calligraphic work of the late 1980s through the present.

Brice Marden: Paintings on Marble will be on view at the Matthew Marks Gallery, 521 West 21st Street (between 10th & 11th Avenues) through June 27th, 2004. Hours: Thursday and Friday, 1:00pm to 6:00pm; and Saturday, 11:00am to 6:00pm.

For further information or reproductions please contact Sabrina Buell at 212-243-0200.