Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Agnes Martin

In some ways, we have “come a long way baby”. I remember when I was in grad school, there were so few women artists mentioned it was sickening. I guess that is why so many female students walked around in plaid hunters shirts and construction boots. Our role models were the likes of Frank Stella, Rauschenberg, and Johns. I can remember walking into a painting studio back then and the professor was looking at a magazine article about Agnes Martin. Agnes who? I was young and dumb back then. I didn’t “get” her grids. Even though the professor raved, I just looked at all those lines and muted colors and wondered why her work was in Art in America.
Well, I am not young and as dumb anymore. I understand Agnes Martin better now. In fact, I think of her as a great role model! Not only is her work impeccable, she seemed to be such an intelligent, strong woman.
I was watching a video today: “Art City – Simplicity”. At the time it was made, Agnes was 86 years old. She spoke of her work and told of how she painted happiness, innocence, beauty, and tranquility. She confessed of not wanting to paint anything depressing. As I watched the video, I realized this woman had such integrity and conviction about her art. She had a matter of fact demeanor. It was if she was thinking, “Take me or leave me! I know who I am and what I am about!” Martin died in 2004 at the age of 92. Sorry it took me so long to see your beauty Agnes.

Agnes Martin
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