Agnes Martin. Red Bird. 1964

Agnes Martin Red Bird 1964

  • Not on view

Martin is often associated with Minimalism on the basis of her interest in geometry and repetition. Yet while Minimalists stripped art of emotion, she sought qualities such as innocence and joy in her paintings, asserting that “beauty and happiness and life…are [the artist’s] only concern….They are perfect and sublime. This is the subject matter of art.” In this sense, she was in harmony with the Abstract Expressionists. Around 1964, Martin heightened the translucent nature of her work by switching from oils to acrylic paints. With considerable additions of water, acrylics allowed her to layer a series of translucent washes of color without the yellow effect of thinned oils. In Red Bird, she inscribed a faint grid in red colored pencil over a subtly washed ground. The grid’s tremulous lines cause it to appear to gently vibrate in space. To promote such effects, Martin never used more than two coats of priming or sanded her surfaces smooth.

Additional text from In The Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting online course, Coursera, 2017
Medium
Colored ink and pencil on paper
Dimensions
12 1/4 x 11 7/8" (31.1 x 30.4 cm)
Credit
Gift of Mrs. Bliss Parkinson
Object number
159.1966
Copyright
© 2018 Estate of Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Department
Drawings and Prints

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