American, born Canada
1912, Macklin, Canada
2004, Taos, New Mexico
Agnes Martin (1912–2004) evokes joy, beauty, and perfection with her grid paintings, geometric abstractions, and muted color palette. Born in Canada, Martin immigrated to the U.S. in 1932 and worked for many years as a teacher and painter in New Mexico and New York. At age forty-five she moved to Coenties Slip, Manhattan, where she lived alongside such artists as Lenore Tawney, Ellsworth Kelly, and Robert Indiana. In the late 1950s she began producing square compositions based on grids using subdued colors, loosely ruled graphite lines, and painted bands. Influenced by Taoism, Zen Buddhism, and transcendentalism, she considered her work a reflection of the innocence and beauty of nature. Martin returned to New Mexico in 1968 and, after a hiatus of several years, continued to create abstract paintings, drawings, and prints, moving from grids to pastel stripes and geometric forms. Though Martin identified as an Expressionist, her work also resembles Minimal and Color Field painting. Her intricate compositions reward the viewer who slows down and looks closely.
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