Mark Hagen’s paintings, sculptures, and found objects often emerge from a defined system that manipulates unstable or nontraditional materials to spark spontaneous invention. Materials and process are playfully combined to investigate “the unfixed, the incomplete, and the cyclic” in opposition to linear and “finished” artworks. Hagen has pushed paint through the back of canvas to generate a sculptural and painterly surface; used steel armatures for sculptures that are precarious and oddly shaped; and utilized plastic tiles to mold acrylic paint upon a canvas into quilt-like patterns. Striving to reveal the reconfigurable character of art, he confronts the opposing forces of chance and control, utility and aesthetic value, historical and contemporary.
Hagen has exhibited his works in institutions such as Bass Museum of Art, Miami, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, Torrance Art Museum, California, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California, San Francisco Art Institute, California, and White Columns, New York, among others.