Brice Marden born 1938

Artist biography

American painter and printmaker. He studied at Boston University School of Fine and Applied Arts, receiving his BFA in 1961, and to 1963 at Yale University School of Art and Architecture. In the following year he produced his first single-panel monochromatic paintings, through which he contributed to the emerging aesthetic of Minimalism. Bringing together the painterly quality of Abstract Expressionism with the intellectual rigours of Minimalism, Marden achieved a balance between emotional intensity and formal simplicity.

In his early paintings Marden left a bare narrow margin at the bottom edge of the thickly worked surface of oil mixed with wax to allow the observer to be witness to the process. In later works he developed subtle colour combinations by joining together panels of a single colour in either vertical or horizontal formats. From 1975, when he began making annual visits to Greece, he took inspiration from the light and colour of its landscape and also made reference to mythology in his choice of titles. After preparing designs for stained-glass windows for Basle Cathedral in 1977, he became interested in expressing in his paintings the conditions of colour and light in architecture.

After producing a series of 25 etchings in which he made reference to Chinese ideograms, he introduced a network of meandering lines into his paintings. These works for which monochrome panels now acted as background colour fields, provided a dramatic departure from his previous style, but they continued to stress the importance of touch, surface, colour and tone.

L. R. Lippard: ‘The Silent Art', A. America, lv/1 (1967), pp. 58–63
Brice Marden's Drawings, 1963–1973 (exh. cat. by D. Ashton, Houston, 1974)
Brice Marden (exh. cat. by L. Shearer, New York, Guggenheim, 1975)
R. White: ‘Interview', View [Oakland], iii/2 (1980) [interview with artist]
Brice Marden (exh. cat. by R. Smith and S. Bann, London, Whitechapel A.G.; Amsterdam, Stedel. Mus.; 1981)
Brice Marden: Recent Paintings & Drawings (exh. cat., essay J. Yau, London, Anthony d'Offay Gal., 1988)


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