Agnes Martin Untitled No. 1 1981

  • Not on view

Martin painted Untitled No. 1 in New Mexico, where she would remain until the end of her long life. The expansive, arid landscape of the southwestern United States influenced her work, which increasingly featured horizontal bands in soft hues. Here she presents a cascade of lines in paint and pencil, rendered in whispering tones. Because she diluted her paints so thoroughly during this period, she often rotated her canvases on their sides to work from top to bottom (rather than from side to side) to prevent drips. To further mute her marks, she would sometimes finish her paintings with a coat of diluted acrylic primer, effectively veiling her surfaces with a translucent white glaze. Martin worked on paintings as if they were drafts of a text, discarding many compositions that did not adhere to her vision and then repainting them until she felt she had gotten it right.

Additional text from In The Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting online course, Coursera, 2017
Gesso, acrylic, and pencil on canvas
6' x 6' (183 x 183 cm)
Gift of the American Art Foundation
Object number
© 2024 Agnes Martin
Painting and Sculpture

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