Agnes Martin in Guggenheim New York 2017

Agnes Martin
I haven’t heard of her until this Guggenheim exhibition visit. My art people recommended it, so I went. The part that made me ‘I should go’ was her interesting career life. To keep it short, she painted, and then left the art scene, became a teacher in rural area, and then started creating artworks again until she died. But, as one can realize from her works and curators’ explanations, she constantly struggled/strived to keep certain distance from the market. She was on and off and on and off and on and …

2guggIMG_9643

Her works don’t look great on photos as they are in physical settings. I felt that huge frame sizes enhance her ideas — thin, light lines in a giant blank canvas. Her style and the story of her life somehow consoled me. I spent about 3 hours, listening to the audio guide from the top to the bottom floor of Guggenheim. The time when I visited the show, I personally was stressed out and was in need of rest but not too lonely. The gallery was quite a great solution and Agnes Martin’s works were even better.

2guggIMG_0540

Main characteristics of her artworks are… (but her style changes here and there…)

Primary compositions
Geometric forms

Large canvas
Elements
Nature
Stripes
Subtle
Life

1960s, early career
– grid = innocence of trees
– explore the potential of grid
– penciled lines, challenging the notion of drawing and glorified act of painting
– humility and egolessness
– economical choices, little paint/color/lines
– 72-inch-square paintings
– can’t really say Minimalism, more like Abstract Expressionists
– about human emotion and handmade surfaces
– likes to use nature as an element and inspiration

2guggIMG_9674

1974, different from 1960s
– introduce vertical stripes
– colorful!
– continue until early 1990s

1989, black, dark, gray
– consistent tone
– patience and focus
– darkness as placid, calm silence
– can still mean happiness and positive emotion

2guggimg_9657.jpg

2gugg_PS_unknown

1992 of Agnes Martin: Taoism, New Mexico, retirement home
– reduced her format to 60 inches at the age of 80
– reintroduce color and loosen her reliance on structural organization
– darkness and gloomy, happiness and positive emotions
– no repetition in the waves, clouds, nature, in life; subtle variations
– grid; innocence of trees

Later in 1990s, She began to write the titles of paintings again
– feelings of innocence and love
– Taoism, purest freedom, happiness as a newborn child
– love was a unifying, positive force, ‘love is all around us like air’

2gugg_PS_Untitled1995
Untitled, 1995

Her later works
– Transition from stripes to geometric forms
– Combining old and new styles, bringing continuity
– Reflecting her life and career

2guggimg_0539.jpg

2gugg_PS_homage
Homage to Life, 2003 (the very last painting)
Advertisements

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s