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Artists Brice Marden
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Brice Marden

American Painter

Movements and Styles: Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism

Born: October 15, 1938 - Bronxville, NY

Brice Marden Timeline

Quotes

"To maintain any kind of life as an artist is to make change. Yet for most observers change in an artist's work is the most difficult thing to grasp."
Brice Marden
"Working on a painting is very physical...the shapes of the paintings are so closely related to the human scale, you work with them, and after a while it gets to be a dance."
Brice Marden
"I paint as I see and as I feel, and I have very strong feelings."
Brice Marden
"My work comes out of observation and acceptance of nature. Man, part of nature, absorbs and digests and pushes it back out in the form of art."
Brice Marden
"I got to a point where I could go on making 'Brice Marden paintings' and suffer that silent creative death...You get to this point where you have to make a decision to change things."
Brice Marden
"When the painting really lives...I consider it finished. When I have put all I can into it and it really breathes, I stop."
Brice Marden
"Very early on, I became conscious of the fact that art is a societal threat because it's tied so explicitly to truth."
Brice Marden
"One of the great things about art is it isn't worth anything. It's absolutely free. It's going to get made no matter what."
Brice Marden

"Color is a way of arriving at light. The illusion of light is one of the things that a painter works with, I mean, that's how you get an image. Without light there is no visible image."

Brice Marden Signature

Synopsis

Brice Marden could be likened to a chameleon. Marden himself once compared the relationship between painters and their critics as basically one big chase, where critics attempt to pin down and define artists, who are constantly working to escape the shackles of labels. At various points in his career Marden has been labeled a Minimalist and an Abstract Expressionist, but the way that he has bounced between - and away from - each of these categories has meant that his works take on an intensely personal idiom. Marden bases his art upon a wide range of experiences - new acquaintances, internal crises, and studies of literature, art history, and nature - often distilling his memories to a single key moment of inspiration. As his career has advanced, Marden's works have tended to combine his various explorations of his experiences, thereby creating "layers" of his interests between memory and form that span the full range of his activity.

Key Ideas

Unlike many of the Minimalists and Abstract Expressionists whom he studied and with whom he sometimes worked, Marden does not abandon subject matter while he reveals the process of creation and the materials he uses; instead, these often feed off one another, as the evidence of process often points to the nuanced quality of Marden's experiences that undergird his works. He has described his work occasionally as "taking one of Jackson Pollock's drips and zooming in on a piece of it."
Marden's works derive from highly specific personal experiences, much like those of Frank Stella, and without knowledge of those personal stories, our understanding of Marden's works usually remains incomplete. Often, Marden's paintings and drawings include numerous clues - dimensions that relate to moments from or facts about the subject of inspiration. Some works strive for a poetic minimalism - describing a road trip through the state of Nebraska in a single color.
Marden maintains a deep commitment to a modernist mantra of continually revising his work, sometimes "erasing" and reworking his pieces over a very long time. This has caused many to praise the very high standards he sets for himself, but to some extent it has also limited his productivity.
The difficulty of categorizing Marden's work derives in part from the way that he has gone through several different phases of his career. When he feels like he has exhausted his creativity, he looks to other, often disparate, sources of inspiration. More recently, his work has tended to become more reflective, bringing in several of these interests together in a kind of "layered" or "autobiographical" manner.

Biography

Brice Marden Photo

Childhood and Education

Nicholas Brice Marden, Jr. grew up in a middle-class household in Briarcliff Manor, in Westchester County, New York, and his interest in art was influenced from an early age by a multitude of sources. His father, a mortgage servicer, would mount reproductions of paintings on both sides of Masonite panels so he could flip them over when he got tired of looking at them. In the seventh grade, Marden reports, he also experienced a revelation when he fell asleep in the woods near the old farm house where he lived, later waking up with a sense that his life had changed somehow and he knew he would become an artist. In high school, Marden's form of teenage rebellion consisted of cutting classes so he could hitchhike into Manhattan to visit the Museum of Modern Art. These visits were also sometimes facilitated by his best friend's mother, and her husband, a sometime painter who gave the young Brice a subscription to ARTNEWS magazine.

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Brice Marden Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Brice Marden
Interactive chart with Brice Marden's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Jasper JohnsJasper Johns
Franz KlineFranz Kline
Piet MondrianPiet Mondrian
Jackson PollockJackson Pollock
Mark RothkoMark Rothko

Personal Contacts

Klaus KertessKlaus Kertess

Movements

Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
MinimalismMinimalism
RomanticismRomanticism
Post-ImpressionismPost-Impressionism

Influences on Artist
Brice Marden
Brice Marden
Years Worked: 1958 - present
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Nancy GravesNancy Graves
Jose ParlaJose Parla
Sean ScullySean Scully

Personal Contacts

Chuck CloseChuck Close
Robert MangoldRobert Mangold
Richard SerraRichard Serra
Vija CelminsVija Celmins

Movements

Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
MinimalismMinimalism

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Peter Clericuzio

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Peter Clericuzio
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