Los Angeles, CA
The first retrospective of Agnes Martin’s (1912–2004) work since 1994, this extensive exhibition covers the full breadth of her practice, revealing her early and little-known experiments with different media and tracing her development from biomorphic abstraction to the mesmerizing grids and striped canvases that became her hallmark.
A seminal artist of the twentieth century and a pioneer of abstraction, Agnes Martin’s visionary aesthetic and reclusive lifestyle have inspired artists and practitioners across all creative disciplines. Her style, though restrained, underscored her deep conviction in the emotive and expressive power of art. Martin viewed her work as a pursuit of perfection, striving to instill every painting with “beauty, innocence, and happiness.”Martin’s development of the grid marked a crossroads in the history of abstract painting. By gently inscribing penciled lines over subtle fields of wash and color, Martin established a geometric and spatial language that she would persist in refining and reinterpreting over ensuing decades.
An advocate of pure abstraction, Martin was one of the few prominent female artists in the prevailingly masculine art world of the late 1950s and 1960s. In 1967, just as her art was gaining acclaim, Martin abandoned New York City and her practice in pursuit of silence and solitude, traversing the United States and Canada. Settling on a remote mesa outside of Cuba, New Mexico, Martin returned to art-making in 1973. Working within tightly prescribed and self-imposed limits, Martin continued to make extraordinary, visionary works for over three decades until her death in 2004.
Exhibition overview from the LACMA website; Exhibition will travel to the Guggenheim in NYC in October 2016
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Agnes Martin, provides an overview of Martin's career, from lesser-known early experimental works through her striped and gridded grey paintings and use of color in various formats, to a group of her final pieces that reintroduce bold forms. A selection of drawings and watercolors is also included. With essays by leading scholars that give a context for Martin's work-her life, relationship with other artists, the influence of South-Asian philosophy-alongside focused shorter pieces on particular paintings.