Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Agnes Martin - Tate Modern

Agnes Martin, Untitled #10, 1990
Agnes Martin is at Tate Modern until 11 October 2015.
This is a terrific exhibition. Agnes Martin's subtle grids and pale striped paintings - so subtle in some cases that they seem almost not there - occupy a unique space between Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. They exude a calm and ordered beauty.  However, it seems that they were not borne of cool calculation but from a sometimes troubled mind. Martin was a schizophrenic and her story is fascinating. From a poor, prairie farming family in Canada, Martin arrived in New York in the late 1950s where she worked alongside artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly and Robert Indiana. In 1961 she was found wandering the streets uncertain about who and where she was. She was hospitalised several times and on at least one occasion subjected to shock therapy. In 1967 she renounced art, bought a pick up truck and an Airstream caravan and ended up in New Mexico on a remote patch of land - no electricity, no telephone, no neighbours - and built herself a house. Around 1972 she returned to painting and continued to do so until her death at 92 in 2004.
Read a feature article by Olivia Laing. Read reviews by Adrian Searle, Rachel Cooke, Alastair Sooke, Janet McKenzie, Kelly Grovier, Zoe Pilger and Charley Peters.
Agnes Martin, Untitled, 1959
Agnes Martin, Friendship, 1963
Agnes Martin, On A Clear Day, 1973
Agnes Martin, Untitled #3, 1974
Agnes Martin, Untitled, 1977
Agnes Martin, Untitled 5, 1998 (detail)
Agnes Martin, Happy Holiday, 1999

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