“I also take pleasure in the so-called negative power in Grotjahn’s work. That is, I love his paintings for what they are not. Unlike much art of the past decade, Grotjahn isn’t simply working from a prescribed checklist of academically acceptable, curator-approved isms and twists. His palette isn’t only the voguish trio black, white, and silver; images aren’t taken mechanically from newspapers, the Internet, or other media; his paintings aren’t comments about comments about Warhol; they’re not coolly ironic. These qualities don’t inherently make Grotjahn’s art brave or even good (although it is good). They make you realize just how locked-in and unsurprising so much market-driven work has become.” Jerry Saltz on Mark Grotjahn, June 5, 2011.
Mark Grotjahn has been called the perfect artist for our time. His paintings reference and re-present many specific styles and processes of the Modern Era. And like many of his 21st Century contemporaries Grotjahn has removed any critique of the past in order to create a more user-friendly Abstract Mannerism. Grotjahn’s paintings are wonderfully made mashups of the abstraction of the 20th Century and they’re great to look at.
“… as Picassoid as they are, Grotjahn’s paintings also are reminiscent of work by a number of proto- and early modernists, as well as a host of primitive-by-way-of-Picasso–inspired artists from Klee to Pollock to Basquiat… Such associations are a matter less of style or imagery than of envisioning and giving image to different kinds of pictorial space — the space of the unconscious, the space of the spiritual or otherworldly, the space of collage and montage. The results are works that fuse renaissance space, cubist space, abstract and nonobjective space with surrealist and dadaist space, pop space and visionary-modernist space — a fusion that generates the real sense of the uncanny that the imagery only points at.” Christopher Miles on Mark Grotjahn, March 25, 2010.