Delighted to see the spectacles hanging about the neck of one of my favorite contemporary artists, Brice Marden...it sort of resonates with me.
It was at Yale that Brice developed his formal strategies, considered to be part of the minimalism movement. His own strategic bend began with rectangular formats and the use of muted palettes, including monochrome canvases.
Brice married Pauline Baez (yes, sister of Joan Baez) and their son, Nick Marden, merged naturally into the art world as a musician. He was a viable part of the New York punk music scene in the 1970s and 1980s.
Helen Harrington, Brice's second wife traveled with him extensively throughout Asia and both found a love for the Greek island of Hydra. Here, Brice would eventually convert his observations of light and architecture, and his studies of the conditions of color and light into 31 paintings on marble. As well, his travels to Thailand and Sri Lanka, along with other countries in Asia influenced his work. One of the most profound influences on his work were the Japanese Calligraphy Masters, which he expressed in the Cold Mountain series.
The marvelous image above is Cold Mountain 6 (Bridge), 1989-1991. It is a part of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's (SFMOMA) permanent acquisitions. Below is another of the permanent SFMOMA pieces by Brice Marden. This one is a wonderful example of his synthesized influences from Yale - both rectanglular and a monochrome canvas. Lovely, calming, cool. It is The Dylan Painting, 1966/1986.
Back again to the Hydra work, this one being oil on linen. Here is a study of light and conditions of color and light that also shows the influence of the masters of Japanese Calligraphy. This one is Study For The Muses, 1991-95/1997.
Brice Marden's daughter, Mirabelle, was one of the founders of Rivington Arms Art Gallery in New York, which expanded, moved to a larger location, and then sadly closed in January of 2009. Mirabelle is an accomplished photographer.
Not so long ago, art critic Peter Schjeldahl referred to Brice Marden as the most profound abstract painter of the last half century. Perhaps that's because paintings are often born from experiences with mediums, training, particular experiences, and reactions to having spent time in various places and cultures. Brice Marden brings all that to his work, a passionate response and the beauty of statements that are pure and complex all at once.
I'm happy to say Brice is still alive, and in his own lifetime experienced something rather spectacular for a living artist: One of his Cold Mountain pieces, specifically Cold Mountain (Path) 1988-89, recently sold at a Sotheby's auction for more than 9 million dollars.
His cold mountains of work warm my heart.