"You take a canvas, divide it up like a checkerboard... and go from there." - Man Ray

Brice Marden
Brice Marden
About the film
  • Year
  • Categories
  • Duration 22 minutes
  • Producers Edgar Howard, Theodore Haimes
  • Directors Edgar Howard, Theodore Haimes

After a few seconds of footage from 1968 of the artist working, this powerful film moves into 1976, providing an intimate look at the enigmatic abstract painter, Brice Marden.

Shot in 16mm shortly after Marden’s 1975 exhibition at the Guggenheim, this film reveals, through interviews with Marden and numerous shots of his preparations and working process, the depth of intellectual creativity behind his works.

“Living on islands leads you to think in certain ways,” says the artist, who divides his time beween Manhattan and Hydra, Greece. We see how notebook sketches and ideas are transformed into artwork, or serve simply as inspiration. We see Marden using sandpaper, beeswax rubbed into paper with a razorblade, and graphite stick to create monochromatic, dense works on paper.

“You’re constantly referring back to this memory of observed color,” says Marden, embarking on a gray painting. The search for a matte surface led to the use of wax, which he employs on canvas as well as paper, mixing it with pigments to create something natural.

The left-handed painter stuns and moves us with his provocative statements. “Can you just make presence?…As you get older, you refine and refine…I wouldn’t trust a painter unless I thought he or she was crazy in some way. And it always shows in the work.”

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