Monday, January 30, 2012

I can see humility--delicate and white--Agnes Martin

WCAGA “Book Discussion Get Togethers” are shaping up strongly thanks to Maggie Bethel and Vickie Martin. It is also more a discussion of art and artists than books. 

For the next discussion we are going to explore the life and work of Agnes Martin. To get the juices flowing I’ve put together todays blog post. The biographical information I collected from the sites, and of course Wikipedia. Agnes was born in 1912 in Canada. She moved to the USA in 1931. She died on December 16, 2004.
Jeffrey Lee writes the following about Agnes Martin’s work in the “weeklyWIRE” August 3rd, 1998. 
You could mistake Martin, who was honored with a Whitney retrospective in 1992 and a Golden Lion at last year's Venice Biennale, for a Minimalist. But the hard, machine-edged lines of Minimalism are worlds apart from her precisely repeated, subtly varied lines, each of which shows the human presence of her hand. The occasional, but deliberate, breaks and wobbles--only one or two in each drawing, usually tiny and easy to miss--are crucial to an Agnes Martin composition. When she writes about her work, the artist uses words like "joy" and "perfection," but the geometric purity it aspires to is a Platonic ideal, imperfectly translated to canvas or paper. With its purposeful "flaws," the quiet, joyful space between real and ideal is exactly what Martin's work celebrates.”

The Hardwood Museum of Art in Taos has an upcoming show of her work with the title “Agnes Martin: Before the Grid.”  It opens February 25 and runs thought June 17. 

Her work and life still inspire artists. Brian Bress uses extractions from her book “Writings” in the Exhibition, “Brian Bress’s ‘Under Performing’” at the Cherry and Martin Gallery in Los Angelos, CA.

Interesting tidbits:
  • She stopped painting for seven years, 1967-74.
  • Agnes Martin received the Oskar Prize from the Austrian Government in 1992.
  • She received the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biennale in 1997.
  • She received a National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1998.
  • When Richard Polsky visited her in 1994 the only image she had on her walls was a poster of a Georgia O’Keefe painting.

I have nearly finished a biography on Louise Nevelson and I must say that I am hooked on reading the next artists story... Reading and learning about these lives, struggles and work of strong, creative and talented artist is surely inspiring. 

Look out for the date and place of the next Book Discussion Get Together.

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