Grotjahn, a Los Angeles–based artist, draws on Renaissance perspectival techniques for the structures and subjects of his multiple-vanishing-point butterfly pattern drawings. His forms stretch and shrink and approach and recede, playing with the logic of linear perspective. Grotjahn is inspired by the hand-painted signs found in "mom and pop" stores, with their off-kilter graphics and makeshift lettering, and he uses this homemade aesthetic to subvert the hard-edge precision traditionally associated with geometric abstraction.
Gallery label from Geo/Metric: Prints and Drawings from the Collection, June 11–August 18, 2008.
For over a decade Grotjahn has probed the internal logic of his deceptively simple trademark form, which he identifies as a butterfly. At first glance this work may bring to mind 1950s high modernism, but unlike early Color Field painters Grotjahn is not concerned with flattening the picture plane. To create the illusion that his geometries stretch, shrink, approach, and recede, the artist uses a multiple–vanishing–point perspective technique, famously adopted by Renaissance artists to give a sense of depth to their paintings. Grotjahn rejects the hard–edge precision typically associated with formal abstraction in favor of a handmade aesthetic.
Gallery label from Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, April 22, 2009–January 4, 2010.