Oil and wax on canvas
Unframed: 182.8 x 137.2 cm (71 15/16 x 54 in.)
© Brice Marden / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Gift of Agnes Gund given in honor of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Centennial 2017.127
Brice Marden made his first monochromatic, singlepanel painting in the winter of 1964. During the next 20 years, he created spare, abstract, often multipaneled paintings that won national acclaim. In Sea Painting I, two rectangular canvases were painted with a mixture of beeswax and oil—known as encaustic—creating a smooth, dense surface with a matte finish.
Marden tested the reductionist tendencies of Minimalism by reintroducing references to landscape into a seemingly abstract painting. Here, he used subtle tones of gray-green that suggest water and atmosphere. The sharp split of color alludes to the division between sky and ocean and a limitless view to the horizon.
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