Brice Marden, Rest in Peace

Brice Marden and Robert Rauschenberg in Bob’s Lafayette St studio in 1968, photographed by Henri Cartier-Bresson [via Brice’s 2015 oral history for the RRF]

Helen just posted that Brice Marden passed away in his sleep. Peace to him and his loved ones.

I went to Glenstone this morning to see Marden’s commission, Moss Sutra with the Seasons, which he worked on for five years. In the four, multi-layered monochrome panels on either side, the intricacies of his marks are only visible up close, in raking light, as you move yourself. Some are matte, and evenly so, like wax or earth.

The red and black* panels on the right, though, are glossier. In the indirect, overcast light, Marden’s vinelike tendrils of blue-black paint have a greater reflectivity than the blue-black that first reads as a veil, then as a base. As you move in front of it, you realize they’re a mirror, and the palimpsest in the painting is a figure. You’re standing where the artist once stood as he made it, and as he pronounced it complete.

Brice Marden discussed the layers and process of Moss Sutra with the Seasons in a 2012 artist talk at Tate Modern.

* I’ve always read that panel as black, but in describing it, Marden calls it blue. But blue in the end. Every panel has every color, in layers, he said.