I remember reading a long time ago about how Agnes Martin used to regularly take a craft knife to her paintings she was not happy with, shredding and destroying them. I’m glad that I’m learning to be less precious about my work now and whilst I’m not cutting them up, I’m quite happily painting over them when something’s not sitting right. There is both a still life and a portrait hiding beneath this sunflower.
Pace Gallery is currently showing an exhibition of paintings by Agnes Martin alongside wearing blankets by masterful Navajo (Diné) weavers. Martin took no direct inspiration from the aesthetics of Navajo weaving in her approach to painting, but she spent most of her life living in New Mexico, and the region’s cultural history and artistic production influenced her experience. By the mid-1800s, a Navajo chief blanket was one of the most valued garments in the world. They are celebrated for their manifestations of harmony and balance. Developed beginning in the 1750s, this bold-banded style was worn around the shoulders of both men and women #AgnesMartin#NavajoBlankets
“She spent all the time she possibly could on the mountain and it always held the same fascination for her. She knew the rocks and the rosy dawn glow but most of all she knew the life there and was overwhelmed by her awareness of the struggle, the beauty, and the pain.”
So ends Agnes Martin’s fable, ‘The Rose Colored Mountain,’ likely one of the earliest found examples of her writing, dating from the early 1950s. The Taos landscape of mountains rising from flat desert plains inspired Martin’s work, from this watercolor of the late 1940s to her better-known horizontal line paintings.
Pictured: ‘New Mexico Landscape, Taos,’ ca. 1947; Photo by @unm_art_museum, courtesy @HarwoodMuseum
A fascinating dialogue between stunningly beautiful Navajo textiles and Agnes Martin’s minimal paintings is currently taking place at Pace Gallery. When viewed side by side, a number of captivating formal and conceptual affinities unfold. Like many of Agnes Martin’s compositions, Navajo textile design embraces harmony and balance through alternating widths of banding, deploys monochrome geometric patterns, and uses a gradating mirror perspective. Although there are no accounts of Martin ever directly borrowing from Navajo textile design, her physical proximity to the culture and history of the Native American tribes of New Mexico must not have left her untouched. Agnes Martin once said that that “what we make is what we feel.” The meditative quality of repetitive forms, the silence that blankets the Mesa, a serenity that spawns dignity, the intensity of nature, and the expansiveness of the plains that is reflected in the horizonal line, are the underpinnings of the visual and emotive experience that engulfs this exhibition. At Pace through December 21. #agnesmartin#navajodesign#nativeamericantextiles#pace#geometricabstraction#minimalism#pace
#mondaymood#agnesmartin ~~~”Beauty is very much broader than just to the eye. It is our whole, positive response to life. An artist is fortunate in that his work is the inner contemplation of beauty, of perfection in life. We cannot make anything perfectly, but with inner contemplation of perfection, we can suggest it“ ~~~📷 from #nickmausstransmissions#PaulaCourt#balletboy#bowing to 2018
Recommended by @ambera.wellmann , “Agnes Martin “Writings” is also full of wisdoms useful to any practice.”
Agnes Martin's abstract works adhere to no catalogue of rules but appear instead as contemplative, intuitive signs. Her "floating abstractions," in which lines and free bands of color emerge almost imperceptibly, can be reproduced only with difficulty. Her writings, on the other hand--although certainly not intended as programmatic statements--offer valuable clarity regarding her own works and poetic insight about art in general. Since its original publication in 1991, this volume of Martin's writings has been a fundamental document for libraries of artists, collectors, and critics. Rather than identifying herself with her Minimalist peers, Martin has aligned herself with the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese, asserting that "the function of art work is . . . the renewal of memories of moments of perfection." In combination with illustrations of her works, these texts--including lectures, stories recorded by critic Ann Wilson, passages ostensibly arranged in associative sequences, and "fragmentary ideas"--form an eloquent artist's statement by the creator of "silent paintings."
Life Form, Conceptual Art Book with Sculpture, Signed and Dedicated to Art Critic Anthony Haden-Guest
Click the link in our bio to purchase work directly online from our popular contemporary art gallery.
"'Dear Agnes' is a series of visual letters that serve as Tammi Campbell’s wordless communion with Agnes Martin. Beginning in 2010, Campbell would start each day in her studio by drawing a different variation of a grid in graphite on Japanese rag paper. Campbell would then write the salutation “Dear Agnes” in the top left corner, fold the drawing twice like a letter, and finally store it in sequence before proceeding with her day. Campbell completed her last letter to Martin on 31 December 2017. This near-daily practice has led to over 1,000 drawings, the final three months of which – 85 letters total – are on view at Esker Foundation.
The duration of Campbell’s letter-writing ritual reflects Agnes Martin’s seven-year hiatus from painting, from 1967 to 1974. Martin initially returned to artmaking with 'On a Clear Day' (1973), a portfolio of thirty silkscreen prints on Japanese rag paper which, like Campbell’s letters, visually manifest the endless opportunities offered by the grid."
On view until 21 December at Esker Foundation.
📽 watch the full video at: www.vimeo.com/esker - click on the link in on our bio page.
☆ This weekend at Esker - enjoy our current exhibitions by Sarah Stevenson, Agnes Martin, and Tammi Campbell (we are open Sat 11-6pm & Sun 11-5pm) ☆ exhibitions are on view only until 21 December ☆
In the Project Space explore the soundwork 'A tender proposition to the din' by Jen Reimer and Magnus Tiesenhausen.
Get the most out of your visit by downloading the free Esker App - before, during or after your visit - listen to rare interviews with artist Agnes Martin - only available until 21 December.
On Sunday join a free tour led by curator Shauna Thompson at 1pm.
The App can downloaded on your smart device from both Google Play or App Store. Link is in our bio.
📷: @studiocprospect & John Dean.
Agnes Martin: Film Screening tonight at Esker Foundation at 7pm.
Join us for this free screening - the screening is fully reserved at this time, but...standing room or seating at the back (on stools) will be available!
Watch the trailer! The link is in our bio.
Our friends at Sidewalk Citizen Bakery have generously provided special cookies to accompany this screening. 🍪 enjoy!
"Agnes Martin: With My Back to the World," is a documentary by Mary Lance on the internationally renowned painter. This documentary was shot over a period of four years, from 1998 through 2002, Agnes Martin's ninetieth year. Interviews with Martin are inter-cut with shots at work in her studio in Taos, New Mexico, with photographs and archival footage, and with images of her work from over five decades. It is a venue for Martin to speak about her work, her working methods, her life as an artist, and her views about the creative process. She also discusses her film, "Gabriel" and reads from her poetry and lectures. In keeping withMartin's chosen life of solitude, she alone appears in the documentary.
Images courtesy of New Deal Films, Inc.