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Agnes Martin, Beach

Agnes Martin, Beach, print [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, Jan 25-Apr 20] © 2014 Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Private collection, Brooklyn, New York

Agnes Martin: The New York-Taos Connection (1947-1957)

Tacoma Art Museum
Tacoma WA – Jan 25-Apr 20, 2014

Rarely seen early works of internationally acclaimed and widely influential painter Agnes Martin (1912–2004) make up this exhibition. Martin’s paintings are characterized by grid-like compositions in muted tones that combine elements of abstract expressionism and minimalism with a Zen-like approach to line and form. Considered an innovator of American abstraction, Martin worked with the most reductive elements of painting in order to express the spiritual aspects of beauty. In this, her purist aesthetic has a meditative quality similar to that of Northwest mystics like painter Mark Tobey. This collection of her early paintings (1947–1957) reveals Martin’s shift from representational subject matter to bold biomorphic forms in a colourful palette. Seen in these pieces is her quest to reflect the inner mind. It is said that Martin sought to destroy much of her early work, which, if true, may have contributed to the birth of her reductionism spirit.

Born in Canada, Martin studied in New York and New Mexico, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1950. Her artwork was discovered in 1957 by influential New York gallerist Betty Parsons. Martin lived and worked in New York for a decade among many important mid-century artists (including Ellsworth Kelley, Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt), developing her mature style before resettling in New Mexico.

Organized by the Harwood Museum of Art at the University of New Mexico, Taos (a museum with a wing dedicated to Martin’s work), this exhibition travelled to Buffalo, NY, and Albuquerque, NM, before arriving in Tacoma.

Allyn Cantor

Agnes Martin, Untitled

Agnes Martin, Untitled (1952), print [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, Jan 25-Apr 20] © 2014 Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Private collection, Brooklyn, New York

Agnes Martin, Dream of Night

Agnes Martin, Dream of Night (1954), print [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, Jan 25-Apr 20] © 2014 Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Private collection, Brooklyn, New York


 Thu, Feb 6, 2014