This catalogue was published in conjunction with an exhibition held at Kunstmuseum Thun, September - November, 2007.
Grotjahn studied painting and sculpture at the Universities of California and Colorado before settling down in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s, where he has since been producing a highly individual and ambitious form of abstract painting. His paintings and drawings are characterized by pictorial ideas recurring in variations and demarcating, by means of a reduced formal idiom, the artist's areas of interest. Central to Grotjahn's work are the "Butterfly Paintings" and "Drawings" with their distinctive radiating bands: fine, tonally-nuanced lines applied in dense impasto layers of paint radiate like arteries towards a point in the middle of the painting. These awaken in the spectators associations with a whole range of painting traditions in modernist art: strictly formalist in concept, they recall Colour Field Painting or 1950s works of Abstract Expressionism. The spiral form immediately provokes mental links with elements of pop culture and the everyday world, conjuring up visions of wheels, propellers and optical kaleidoscope effects, sunsets and endless highways in road movies. This enables the playful dissolution of a paradox: Grotjahn generates abstract compositions with the rules of spatial perspective while simultaneously using the rules of non-figurative painting to create spatial dimensions.
The exhibition in Thun shows the two poles of Grotjahn's work: a figurative, sometimes childlike pictorial idiom alongside intensely coloured abstract compositions which impart a highly expressive presence to the exhibition space and, in an almost metaphysical way, facilitate a contemplative engagement with the works. This gives rise to the tense relationship between analytical structure and a simultaneously irrational impact, thus making it possible to experience the encounter of abstraction and figuration.
Paperback; 72 pages
Thun: Kunstmuseum Thun, 2007
6.5 x 9 inches
Weight: 1 lb.