Agnes Martin Mountain I 1966

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 413 The David Geffen Wing

Martin dispensed with the grid in Mountain I, instead covering its off-white surface with horizontally ruled lines rendered in pencil and paint. Though the thicker, white painted lines are delicate, they appear bold and definite beside the much softer, pencil-drawn lines. Martin used many different tools to plot her lines and grids, including rulers, masking tape, and string tacked to opposite margins of the canvas. By focusing intently on process and materials, she thoroughly explored the nuances of the formal qualities of painting—line, color, texture, translucency, gloss, and pictorial space. She also explored perfection, as she maintained: “I hope I have made it clear that the work is about perfection as we are aware of it in our minds but that the paintings are very far from being perfect—completely removed in fact—even as we ourselves are.”

Additional text from In The Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting online course, Coursera, 2017
Acrylic and pencil on canvas
72 x 72" (183 x 183 cm)
Gift of Laura-Lee and Robert Woods
Object number
© 2024 Agnes Martin
Painting and Sculpture

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