The Nevica Project

Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin (1912- 2004) was arguably one of the most important artists of the 20th century creating paintings, drawings, and prints that have been included in exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (California), Musée National d'Art Moderne (Paris), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Tate Gallery (London),  and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York). In addition to having mastered a style based on limited palette, subtle tonalities, and hand drawn lines, Agnes Martin's studies of Buddhism and Taoism influenced her work, resulting in images that are highly spiritual in their purity and perfection. She was born in Canada in 1912 and in the 1950’s lived in New York’s  Coenties Slip, two blocks of artists' lofts near South Ferry, where she met other painters such as Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Indiana and James Rosenquist. From about 1958 on, she adopted a more geometric style using the motifs of squares, rectangles, and finally grids lightly drawn over areas of pale color. These works, large in scale, projected a sense of pure abstraction, a "classicism" softened by the delicate tension of the stroke of a human hand. It is this work for which she is best known, coinciding with a general tendency in American art towards reductivism, or the reducing of a work of art to a few well-chosen elements which, together, project a wholeness and unity and reject representation and illusion.  She moved to New Mexico in 1967 where she died at age 92.