Mark Hagen, born in 1972 in Black Swamp, Virginia, is a visual artist who foregrounds the interplay of materials, process, and form in his geometric, minimalistic paintings, sculptures, and installations. Artist finds inspiration in the breakdown of history, vision and hierarchies and creates works by pushing common and utilitarian materials in directions which reveal the process of making.
Hagen’s paintings are made by pushing black and white paint through lengths of rough burlap onto glass planes supporting sheets of wrinkled wrapping plastic, lengths of packing tape, geometric configurations of cut tile, and other material. Once the paints dries, the fabric is pulled from the textured surface, taking its negative imprint on what will be its facing side. Making a negative, a positive aspect of his paintings, Hagen toys with the concept of the seen and the unseen, addressing the natural limitations of human vision and the rendering of a picture in the brain.
Hagen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California in 1994 and a Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts in 2002. He sees the process of art-making as a negotiation of opposites, in which control meets chance, the utilitarian meets the purely aesthetic, and historical references and materials merge with contemporary times. His work instead employs context, contingency and process, challenging historical narratives, the customs for displaying and viewing art, and the conventional qualitative hierarchies that accompany them.
In 2011 Hagen was awarded the Artists’ Resource for Completion Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation, Los Angeles. He was teaching sculpture at University of California, Irvine from 2009 to 2010. Hagen has had numerous gallery and museum exhibitions, including at Marlborough Gallery, New York, Almine Rech Gallery, Paris, Galeria Marta Cervera Madrid, and China Art Objects, Los Angeles, among many others. His work is a part of the permanent collections of Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
Hagen lives and works in Los Angeles.