Mark Grotjahn's Butterfly Paintings are the artist's most celebrated works to date. Deriving from the artist's fascination with signs and retro graphics, these works which essentially consist of a radiating sequence of parallel lines are executed in thick oil in such a way that an illusion of perspective is generated by the painting's butterfly form.
Built up steadily in a sequence of opaque layers and heavy texture,
Grotjahn's paintings bridge the worlds of abstract painting and amateur sign-making. This amateurish aspect of the work is wholly intentional with the radiating angular patterns of the design's perspectival wings always painted slightly off-kilter so that an uneasy but fascinating tension is established at the heart of the work. Rendered in rich deep tones of colour, the paintings evoke a strangely artificial world of adolescent dreaming. This quality is augmented by the clear emphasis on the hand-made nature of these works and by the often garish addition to them of the artist's hand-drawn monogrammatic signature and date.