* 1929 in Pomona, US
† 2018, Laguna Beach
Marcia Hafif was one of the earliest exponents of so-called analytic painting. In an early essay, published in Artforum in 1978, the American artist described this artistic stance very precisely. Not coincidentally, the essay had the evocative title “Beginning Again.” It was intended to comment on a new beginning, in the wake of which Hafif and her artist-colleagues reduced the means of painting to texture and the expressive quality of monochrome planes of color.
In the forty years of her creative life, Marcia Hafif has impressively demonstrated with captivating rigor just how nuanced and diverse the results of this self-imposed reduction can be. Depending on their format, shade, glazing, and brushstrokes, her monochrome paintings strike different associations and moods. Not infrequently, Hafif’s paintings have titles referring to places and landscapes. But they are always based on the quality and materiality of the paint. Nothing more. But also nothing less.
Marcia Hafif’s early drawings constitute another important group of works; in the early 1970s, they helped her find her way to monochromatic painting. Placing one short stroke of the pencil next to another, she covered the entire drawing surface with marks in these works. In their reduction to the simplest means of drawing, Hafif returns to the elementary expressive possibilities of art. Like her monochrome paintings, Marcia Hafif’s drawings are elemental. At the same time, they mark the beginning of all possibilities—be they of marks, signs, rhythms, or notations.