Abstract Painter, Canada & America
Despite being one of the most pioneering abstract expressionist artists in a widely male dominated art field, Agnes Martin used to capture world’s attention through her turbulent life. Although, until her death in 2004, Martin was fully devoted to producing great abstract art, her interests weren’t limited only to visual arts. She was also a great swimmer, writer, teacher as well as an openly homosexual person.
The Morning (1965), a geometric abstract painting exhibited at MoMA consists one of her most famous and expensive paintings. And also one that makes you stand and stare at it for long time thinking what is it about, why is it titled morning and why this is a great piece of art. “I had to leave out a lot of things that one expects to see in painting” the American artist used to note, while continuing to create an innovative feeling to contemporary audiences like us.
Here are five things you should know about Agnes Martin:
1. A life full of grids
Art must derive from inspiration Agnes Martin had insisted. Her artistic style for decades was devoted to a various set of horizontal and vertical lines drawn with a pencil and ruler on her canvases.
2. She left New York and quitted painting for 7 years
Agnes Martin was one of these figures of the art world who not only gained early popularity, but were also highly acclaimed from an early stage of their life. In 1967, having experienced important changes in her personal life, Martin left New York ,where she was living for years. She travelled around America and finally moved to New Mexico seeking for solitude and silence. Until 1974, she didn’t desire to produce any art.
3. Her late painting period was relied on ethereal and pastel depictions
Before moving to New Mexico, Martin’s work was based on black, white and brown hues. However, in most of the artworks that followed, Martin changed style and practices and concentrated on elegant pastel colours. Being a passionate lover of abstract expressionism, she continued to draw her characteristic lines on her canvases.
4. Her paintings were influenced by Eastern philosophies
Keen on the spiritual side of life, she was attracted by Buddhism that significantly influenced her work. She used to say that her “paintings are not about what is seen. They are about what is known forever in the mind”. Obviously, this spiritual dimension made her focus on the simple things of nature, which led her to experiment the simplicity of everyday life in her paintings.
5. She was suffering from schizophrenia
It is reported that Martin was dealing with psychotic episodes for which she was repeatedly hospitalised. Although she learnt to cope with it, Martin had to live with her psychological turbulence until the end of her life. Martin’s mental illness affected her artistic process trying to communicate her creativity through this stressful behaviour.
Images via: Minimalism, om pom happy, Guggenheim Museum, Arts Summary