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robertogreco : agnesmartin   2

Agnes Martin: the artist mystic who disappeared into the desert | Art and design | The Guardian
"In the summer of 1967, Martin left New York and went off-grid before reappearing in New Mexico. The art she made there – with its buoyant bands of colour – offer no clues to the turbulent life of an artist who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Ahead of a major retrospective, Olivia Laing celebrates her visions of pure joy"



"Learning to withstand emptiness was her own speciality, her given task. Her years in New Mexico were marked by a profound withdrawal from worldly things, a life of renunciation and restriction that often sounds punishingly masochistic, though Martin insisted the intention was spiritual, an ongoing war against the sin of pride. The voices were strict in their limitations. She wasn’t allowed to buy records, own a television, or have a dog or cat for company. Over the winter of 1973 she lived off nothing but preserved home-grown tomatoes, walnuts and hard cheese. Another winter it was Knox gelatin mixed with orange juice and bananas. When she was evicted from the mesa after an argument with the owners, she rang Glimcher, telling him she had lost everything, even her clothes. “It’s a sign I’ve been living too grandly,” she announced cheerfully. “It’s another test for me.”

Ironically, Martin’s reclusiveness, her spartan existence, contributed to her growing status as the desert mystic of minimalism, something she simultaneously resisted and fed. During this period, she began to give public lectures that managed to be both bossy and self-effacing, mixing the language of Zen sermons with the babyish burblings and deliberate repetitions of Gertrude Stein, whose poems she was fond of declaiming. Martin was adept at using language opaquely, creating a screen of words that could veil her from the gaze of the world. Like her enigmatic, resistant paintings, her statements are designed to express something beyond the reach of ordinary understanding, weapons in a campaign to devalue the material and elevate the abstract. “When you give up on the idea of right and wrong, you don’t get anything,” she told Johnston. “What you get is rid of everything, freedom from ideas and responsibilities.”

Towards the end of her life, even the strictures began to dissolve. As she aged, Martin became happier and more social, as well as considerably more wealthy. In 1992, she moved into a retirement community in Taos, New Mexico, driving each day to her studio in a spotless white BMW, one of the few extravagances in a life still dedicated to extreme material simplicity. Other things that gave her pleasure were the novels of Agatha Christie (themselves, as Princenthal observes, infinitely ingenious repetitions on the same core structure), occasional martinis and the music of Beethoven. To Lillian Ross in 2003, she announced cheerfully: “Beethoven is really about something. I go to sleep when it gets dark, get up when it’s light. Like a chicken. Let’s go to lunch.”"
agnesmartin  art  olivialaing  2015  schizophrenia  minimalism  emptiness 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Agnes Martin Interview (20:00 version, 1997) on Vimeo
"An interview done by Chuck Smith & Sono Kuwayama with painter Agnes Martin at her studio in Taos in Nov. 1997."

[Shorter version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-JfYjmo5OA ]

[Via: https://twitter.com/CaseyG/status/223499478819287041 ]

Some highlights:

“I paint with my back to the world.”

"I think education is wrong. Education wants us to think that we are capable and we can do anything, teaches us to be ambitious, but that's the way to failure. To think to win and be ambitious instead of thinking what you're doing. The people that think they're ambitious and capable, they don't know they're only capable of repeating something that's already been done."

"The worst thing you can think about when you're working at anything is yourself."

"You can't think about beating the rest of them when you are painting. You have to keep a picture in your mind."
glvo  brucenauman  self  clarity  agnesmartin  inspiration  howwecreate  howwework  vacanmind  ideas  sonokuwayama  chucksmith  via:caseygollan  interviews  1997  loneliness  alone  life  painting  art  evolution  education  ambition  failure 
july 2012 by robertogreco

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