Paul Mogensen American, b. 1941

Paul Mogensen was born in 1941, Los Angeles, U.S.A. where he attended the University of Southern California. Over a fifty-year career the artist has explored painting through classical ratios and mathematical progressions in structured arrangements of lines, squares and rectangles. He was initially a student of mathematics and chemistry before he discovered art. Mogensen’s pictures are precise with Morse Code type sequences, unmediated by associative narrative props or by any sign of the artist’s hand in the paint’s application. The works are stripped down to their fundamental elements. The artist is a purist, stringent in his approach, very logical in terms of accepting the most direct means of making a painting and works with great clarity. These artworks are unobstructed even by the storyline of Mogensen’s own personal development as most are untitled and undated, drawing attention away from these constructs and instead towards the immediacy of the works themselves.


In 1966 Mogensen arrived in New York and associated with such peers as David Novros and Brice Marden. His first solo exhibition at the Bykert Gallery came the following year. He rejects the art terminology labels such as ‘minimalism’ and ‘abstraction’ that his work has generated. Mogensen has a deeply researched and highly individual appreciation of historical art. He will often reference Russian artists and poets such as Mayakovsky, Rodchenko and Tatlin, along with the less evident influence of Italian fourteenth century painting from Siena. In recent years, Mogensen has engaged with N+1 progressions. These are spiralling cubic forms that play with the mind’s tendency to complete visual patterns that are actually insinuated. The artist is still pushing his practice forward.


In 2019 the artist received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Art and he had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX and was featured in a group exhibition at the Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria. Mogensen’s work is represented in the collections of major museums in the U.S. and abroad, including: Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Harvard Art Museums/ Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Menil Collection, Houston, TX; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; New York Public Library, New York, NY; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.