Agnes Martin – Untitled
Dimensions: 12 x 12″ paper
Medium: lithograph on paper
Edition: ed. 2500
Agnes Martin—Suite of Ten Lithographs is a group of ten of Martin’s works in which she displays her quest for simplicity, seemingly perfectly straight lines, and a heavy geometric influence. In some of the works in this suite, Martin uses light colors, but in her nature, she shies away from bright colors that direct the eyes of the viewer to one particular spot. In each of these pieces, the straight lines that run horizontally or vertically carry a level of perfection, but an observant viewer will notice the slight imperfections that come with each one—imperfections that are produced by an artist who created only by hand.
“Martin had, from the start, an extraordinary sensitivity to subtleties of light and touch. When she hit, at last, on the format of the grid—a motif that was tacit in modern painting after Cubism but never before stripped, and kept, so bare—she found ways to make those qualities the exclusive basis of a wholly original, full-bodied art. She insisted that the results did not exclude nature but analogized it. She said, “It’s really about the feeling of beauty and freedom that you experience in landscape.” (Apropos of the slightly varied forms in some series of her paintings, she recalled studying clouds in the sky: “I paid close attention for a month to see if they ever repeated. They don’t repeat.”) The effect of Martin’s art is not an exercise in overarching style but a mode of moment-to-moment being.”
– Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker
Martin is heavily associated with New Mexico; it is where she settled for years in isolation and solitude to develop her techniques of simplicity, puristic artistic philosophies, and profound abstraction. She believed that for her art to be successful, any person who experienced it should be able to feel the same positive emotions that she felt while making the work, as well as an inspiration similar to what she experienced. Martin’s philosophies also included an in-depth exploration of the Inner Eye, meditation, and inspiration. She believed that all inspiration comes from a complete detachment from the impulses and urges of the physical world, that only when an artist completely separates themselves from distractions–which is done through meditation–can they truly begin to see profound inspiration through their Inner Eye.
Martin passed away in 2004 in Taos, New Mexico, but she lives on through her students, such as New Mexican sculptress Karen Yank, and her works, which are still celebrated globally.
Published by Stedelijk Museum as a portfolio in conjunction with their Agnes Martin exhibition.