Brice Marden
Cold Mountain 6 (Bridge), 1989-1991

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Cold Mountain 6 (Bridge)
Artist name
Brice Marden
Date created
oil on linen
108 in. × 144 in. (274.32 cm × 365.76 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Purchase through a gift of Phyllis C. Wattis
© Brice Marden / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Permanent URL
Artwork status
On view on floor 4 as part of Freeform: Experiencing Abstraction

Artist Brice Marden discusses various ways of looking at paintings, comparing the process to a sort of “dance.“

Audio Stories

Marden on the Zen origins of his Cold Mountain paintings

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Artist Brice Marden. 



I used, as the basis for this group of paintings, poems by a poet named Han Shan, who was a Tang Dynasty poet, who wrote the kind of Zen nature poems. And I found a translation which showed the poems in Chinese. So I could see the structure in Chinese, and I took that structure and used that as the basis for the paintings. You could probably go through this painting and distinguish each time it was painted on. In the beginning, they get very gestural; and then a lot of the additional drawing tends to slow down that gesture. I would erase, just by painting white over the existing black line. And these lines start becoming counter figures, or ghost figures.  


In the poems, theyre constantly talking about these monks wandering in the mountains, and theyre meditating, and the achievement of truth, you know, you cross this bridge. And its a very tricky stone bridge, and thats where the immortals are living. And this painting evolved so that there was a sort of arc. So thats why its called Cold Mountain (Bridge) 

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