The muses | Brice Marden | 1993
“A noodle soup”. Like this the critics referred to the paintings of Jackson Pollock in the time he brought them into light. 60 years after, a canvas of this noodle soup, No 5, was sold in 150 million dollars, being the most expensive painting ever sold.
At first sight, we could say the same about this painting by Marden, if we didn’t know the following:
Marden is an artist born in New York and was devoted for decades to minimalism. If you look at his work, you will not see more than sober and uniform colored squares. However, in the 80s, he turned into formalism, where is emphasized the lines, the color, the shapes and textures; leaving aside realism, context and content. He then began with a series called Cold mountain, inspired in the work of Han Shan, a Chinese poet. Later on, he added color and began with the series called Study for the muses. Hydra version (?). The canvases in this second series are very large (the painting we see today has a size of 2.5m x 4.5m) and, to paint them, he would drag a sprig of coriander with paint on a linen surface.
While the Pollock’s noodles are intense and dramatic, The muses from Marden offers us a feeling of unity and calm but, at the same time, of an infinite complexity.