Brice Marden

(b. 1938)

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(1938– ).

Painter and printmaker. He made his mark in the 1960s with geometric compositions combining abstract expressionism's touch, scale, and heroic aura with minimalism's reduced effects and attention to the work of art as an independent object. Since the later 1980s, linear elements have activated his pictorial surfaces. At first appearing in scrawled webs, they soon looped and crisscrossed in languorous tangles ambiguously related to figuration and to the previous history of abstract art. In recent years, his work has displayed startlingly intense hues, building on the central role that his color has always enjoyed. Born in Bronxville, he grew up in the more distant New York suburb of Briarcliff Manor and received a BFA degree from Boston University in 1961. After earning an MFA at Yale University two years later, he settled in New York, where he became an assistant to Robert Rauschenberg in 1966. Following a sojourn in Paris during the spring and summer of 1964, he began to paint monochrome canvases that emphasize personal expression through subtleties of color and surface. By leaving narrow, irregular, unpainted strips around the edges of each canvas thickly coated with paint (in the early work, usually encaustic, which does not soak into the support), he emphasized the art object's materiality. In the late 1960s he began juxtaposing contiguous canvases into stately rectangles. From the mid-1970s, perhaps in consequence of regular summer visits to Greece (he has maintained a residence on the island of Hydra since 1973), his color took on more radiant qualities that reflect his admiration for the work of Mark Rothko. From 1977 until 1985, he worked on stained-glass windows for Basel Cathedral, an experience that further affected his notions of chromatic relationships. Evolving from landscape and botanical drawings, the linear works first came to fruition in the acclaimed Cold Mountain series (1989–91), revealing an important interest in Chinese culture and its ideograms. An active printmaker throughout his career, Marden has explored territory related to his paintings in etchings primarily, but including occasional forays into other media. Besides properties in New York and Hydra, he has owned a home and studio in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, since 1991 and another, overlooking the Hudson River, in Tivoli, New York, since 2002. In 2006 he purchased land on the island of Nevis, in the Caribbean, with plans to build a fifth residence. His wife, abstract painter and printmaker HelenMarden (1941– ), born Helen Harrington in Pittsburgh, was educated at Pennsylvania State University. They met in New York and married in he late 1960s.

Subjects: Art.

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