Brice Marden, an acclaimed painter known for his innovative approach to abstraction, has passed away at the age of 84. Marden’s substantial contribution to redefining abstract art offered a fresh perspective to the genre during a period when abstract art was perceived to have reached a plateau. His death marks the conclusion of an era within the art world.
Brice Marden, The Silent Innovator Leaves a Lasting Impact
Marden’s daughter, Mirabelle Marden, announced his death via an Instagram post, revealing that he died at his residence in Tivoli, New York. One of Marden’s legacies is constant innovation, and he remained true to his craft, continuing to paint until shortly before his death.
Brice Marden, Pioneering a New Direction in Abstraction
Marden’s influence on the art world dates back to the 1960s, when he began experimenting with various forms of abstraction. Unlike his contemporaries who were departing from traditional models, Brice Marden employed the classic technique of oil on canvas. This unique style garnered him admirers and set him apart from artists with more conceptual ambitions.
Earning Critical Acclaim
Art critics have praised Brice Marden for his distinctive contributions to the art world. Critic Roberta Smith described him as a “keeper of the flame” of radical abstraction, creating works of extraordinary beauty and craftsmanship. Peter Scherdahl likens Marden to a late-entry Abstract Expressionist and applauds his conservative yet original approach.
Transitioning from Monochrome to Vibrant Abstraction
Marden’s journey commenced with a solo exhibition at the Bykert Gallery in New York in 1966, where he showcased monochromatic works in muted hues. Although initially criticized for similarities to the works of more established artists like Jasper Johns, Marden’s artistic evolution led him in new directions. His vibrant spaghetti-like lines juxtaposed against areas of vivid color evolved into abstract art, showcasing his unwavering commitment to innovation.
Persevering with Abstraction in a Changing Landscape
Throughout his career, Marden remained dedicated to abstraction, a style thought to have peaked during the Abstract Expressionism of the 1960s. Marden believes that abstraction allows viewers to interpret art more openly, engaging with it in their own way.
Drawing Inspiration and Pushing Boundaries
Marden’s early work was influenced by artists such as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. He adopted from Johns the use of encaustic, a technique employing wax to enhance color depth. Marden’s journey also included assisting Rauschenberg in the mid-60s, impacting his artistic choices and incorporating multiple panels into some of his monochromatic compositions.
A Lifetime of Evolution and Exploration
Brice Marden and his artistic evolution is characterized by meticulous processes, revisions, and reinterpretations of ideas. Continuously challenging himself, he developed a diverse body of work, boldly experimenting with calligraphy-inspired compositions and explorations of color and form.
An Enduring Legacy of Brice Marden
Born in 1938 in Bronxville, New York, Brice Marden and artistic journey took him through Boston University of Fine and Applied Arts and Yale University, where he studied under influential artists like Chuck Close, Robert Mangold, and Richard Serra. Marden’s fascination with art history, including painters like Édouard Manet and Francisco de Zurbarán, further shaped his artistic perspective.
Innovation Until the End
Despite his battle with cancer, Brice Marden persisted in creating art tirelessly. His legacy lives on through numerous solo exhibitions, participation in esteemed events like documenta and biennials, and his significant impact on the art world. Committed to pushing boundaries and embracing change, Marden has left an indelible mark on the realm of abstraction and beyond.