Through her subtle and serene works, Agnes Martin (American, 1912–2004) sought to convey states of happiness, joy, introspection, and innocence. While she believed that art could not depict those intangible states, she created paintings and drawings that drew from the subjective intensity of Abstract Expressionism and the calculated geometries of Minimalism to elicit such emotive effects.
Martin’s earliest works used imagery to reference the real world, but in the early 1960s she developed her signature grids that appear to extend endlessly, evoking infinity. Each composition of her graphite lines is remarkably different in intention, feeling, and visual impact. These variations, which become evident through careful observation, heighten our perception of Martin’s skillfully nuanced artistic vision. Sometimes compared to live performances, her meticulous-yet-understated compositions can be discovered through close looking and shifting perspective of the viewer.