agnes martin, born in 1912, was one of the most important abstract painters of U.S.
Martin worked during a crucial moment in the american art history. Although his work is often placed in the minimalist camp due to its close association with the work of other minimalist artists, Martin resisted this label, preferring to align himself with Abstract Expressionism.
Characterized by austere lines and grids superimposed on muted color bases, Martin's paintings elegantly negotiate the boundaries of structure, space, drawing, and the metaphysical.
Interested in the transcendent potential of painting, Martin was a contemporary of the Abstract Expressionists and identified her work with the movement. However, her work played a pivotal role in heralding the advent of minimalism.
Martin spent his early childhood in Saskatchewan, on the western plains of Canada, an experience that would influence her throughout her life. As a young adult, she moved to the USA, first to Bellingham, Wash. then NY in 1941, and finally to Albuquerque, where he studied painting at the University of New Mexico.
Return to NY in 1951 where, while earning a master's degree from Teachers College of the University of Columbia, engaged with Buddhist thought through lectures by Jiddu Krishnamurti and the zen scholar D.T. Suzuki.
His interest in Eastern philosophy developed in parallel with his appreciation for Abstract Expressionism, resulting in paintings characterized by biomorphic forms and geometric abstraction, further distilled into an earthy palette of beiges, greens, grays, and creams.
In the fall of 1954, Martin returned to New Mexico and settled in Taos. Shortly thereafter, she received a grant from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation (1955), resulting in the production of one hundred paintings in the span of a single year.
After a studio visit with art dealer Betty Parsons, Martin was convinced to return to NY in 1957. Shortly after moving into a Manhattan loft, Martin met neighboring artists, including Jasper Johns, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Barnett Newman, Robert Rauschenberg, and James Rosenquist.
He also began his association with Betty Parsons Gallery, which hosted his first exhibition by an artist in 1958. The show presented a new development in Martin's work, in which atmospheric compositions are made up of simplified geometric shapes on square canvases, introducing a vocabulary that would become synonymous with his construction site.
The early part of the 1960s was marked by a boom in Martin's career, with his participation in the Carnegie International (1961) and inclusions in collective exhibitions in the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY (1962/1965/1966, XNUMX/XNUMX/XNUMX, XNUMX/XNUMX/XNUMX), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY (1964/1966/XNUMX, XNUMX); The Museum of Modern Art, NY
Thus, Martin, who starts from symbolic presuppositions applied to geometry, progressively slides towards an abstract painting in which he incorporates reticular plots, a gesture that for a large part of the critics means an approach to minimalism.
Without sharing the analytical interest in the geometric shape of the minimalists or their rejection of textures and personal spelling, their intentions are of a mystical order and, as they remember Barbara HaskelHe “maintains his vision of art as a materialization of the most emotional responses
to the life".
However, in the midst of these successes, Martín sought solitude.
He decided to stop painting and leave NY in 1967, traveling for eighteen months around United States y Canada. After resettling in New Mexico, he concentrated intensely on writing prose about art and life.
He died on December 16, 2004, in Taos, New Mexico, United States.