Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin is a renowned Canadian-American painter who was born in March 22, 1912 and passed away on December 16, 2004.  Agnes moved to the US in 1931 and became an American Citizen in 1950.  She was born in a Canadian town referred to as Macklin located in Saskatchewan.

The university of New Mexico and Columbia University were the two education institutions where Agnes did her art studies.  Initially, Agnes’ work was closely related to New Mexico’s Taos town where several artists had settled.  In 1957 Betty Parson who was a gallery owner discovered Agnes Martin.

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This made Agnes move to New York but she later went back to New Mexico in 1967.  This was followed by her establishment as an artist in northern New Mexico in USA (Fer, B. 2005).
Agnes’ artistic style integrated the use of square grids in her work.  Her work earned her the title a “minimalist”.  As an artist, artist preferred to be seen as an abstract expressionist.  Unlike other artists who got involved in social events Agnes Martin rarely participated in social events.
Agnes Martin’s art work has been recognized all over the world as the works of a gifted artist. Some of her paintings are found in various museums.
Examples of museums where Agnes Martin’s art work can be found include, Guggenheim Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art(Indiana),Agnes Martin’s at the National Gallery of Art(Washington), the Museum of Modern Art(New York), and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Through her work for four decades, Martin’s work is respected for being very unique .Some of the attributes of her art work is the combination of ideal geometry, and the achievement of emotions from the paintings.
Her work has attracted both positive and negative sentiments from other artists. In this paper, both the positive and the negative views by other artists about Agnes Martin’s work will be discussed.
Positive opinion by Artists
One way in which Agnes Martin’s work has been appreciated is through her paintings’ ability to counteract any negative thoughts or emotions.  In addition, the paintings are able to promote some inner calmness. The calmness that an individual experienced from looking at Martin’s paintings was very vital in encouraging stability in a world that was experiencing great changes in the 1960s and 1970s.
For instance, the American society was experiencing great changes which were closely related to the sexual and racial identity. The paintings were able to inspire people to be calm and stable despite all the changes that were being experienced in the society.
Agnes Martin through her work tried to explain that art was not supposed to be an instrument of social change, and this is seen by the other artists as being one of the positive effect of her work.  The work was admired by many as a source of people’s stability in a society that was full of great social changes.
Agnes Martin’s work has received support from other artists due to the work’s ability to attract and hold the attention of a viewer.  In art, any artist is expected to have his or her work encourages the viewers to stop and look at the work.
Martin was therefore able to pass her message to the people much easily when the people got attracted to the paintings due to the eagerness the work created in viewers.
Martin’s paintings have been observed to have an amazing richness which makes viewers to stop and look deeply into her work, which can be attributed to the viewers created instinctive need look at the paint images (Rodgers, T. 2005).
A catalogue about her work in Martin and Richard Tuttle’s work (Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth) indicates that her work encourages a viewer to look at it just like the universe unfolds in a cosmic mystery.  The viewer is able to attain some peace about life, because it is through wordlessness that people acquire comfort.
Another positive opinion about Martin’s work is that, her paintings are an expression of joy.  Through her work, she was able to express joy as the life’s desired condition. This view was given by Sister Wendy Beckett in her book titled, American Masterpieces.
Becket was a British art expert who in the 1990s presented art history documentaries for the British Broadcasting Corporation.  According to Beckett, Martin’s paintings had the power to communicate peace, as well as to create great happiness in a person’s inner world.
The vigor in Martin’s work did not go unnoticed by the other artists. The great visual interest that people developed in her work was as a result of vigor. This has been stated as being one of the reasons why Martin was a successful artist.
Many artists view Martin’s work as having being a great inspiration to the young artists who came after her. Her paintings acted as a great inspiration to other younger artists who were coming up in the 1970s (Agnes Martin: Art Encyclopedia
These young artists were attracted to Martin’s intense and  personal art which was also characterized by a feature of being undemonstrative.  Due to her art, the young artists such as Ellen Gallagher and Eva Hesse got inspired by Martin’s Abstract Expressionism.
The spirit of Abstract Expressionism in Martin’s work was preserved by the pale color luminous fields that were created by the hand-drawn pencil lines that were in the paintings.  The paintings sometimes had horizontal graphite lines which were combined with color bands which had vigorous strokes.
This changed, such that Martin would use black, white, and grey colors instead of the pale colors in her paintings.


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