A a lot of people classified Agnes Martin as one of the pioneer member of Minimalism because of her very unique visual language and repetitive simple geometric abstraction painting. However she said she’s more like an abstract expressionist which I do agree because of the title of her works and the spiritual feeling of her painting. Compare to Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, Martin’s work is organic with a poetic human touch expressively reflecting how she see the world. I love her painting title like “With My Back to the World”, “White Stone”, “The Heavenly Race”, they are poetic and harmonic.
Agnes Martin has been a guide of my art practice in the last couple of years, I could even say she is a mentor of my life. Whenever I feel frustrated and tired with daily routine or art practice, I just pick up her book and read her writings. Specially the one “Beauty is the Mystery of Life – Ask yourself: What kind of happiness do I feel with this music or this picture. There is happiness that we feel without any material stimulation. We may wake up in the morning feeling happy for no reason. Abstract or non objective feelings are a very important part of our lives. Personal emotions and sentimentality are anti-art. We make art work as something that we have to do not knowing how it will work out. When it is finished we have to see if it is effective. Even if we obey inspiration we cannot expect all the work to be successful.”
Her writing is beautiful and inspiring as much as her painting. When I walked through her exhibition in 2015, I was totally absorbed and feel like she was holding my hand to teach me how to see the world. Her view over perfection and beauty can be seen from her practice, in her painting always can find imperfection with the details of dirt imbibed varnish and showing recovery of gesso surface after varnish removal. That’s the most beautiful part of her painting.