1912 - 2004 · Canada
Agnes Martin was a Canadian-born and American female abstract painter known for her minimalist geometric abstractions. Martin’s artistic approach inherited from the ambivalence between extreme precise lines and the influence of Taoist philosophy.
Born in 1912 in Macklin, Canada, and she grew up in Vancouver, before moving to the United States in 1932. Agnès Martin studied at Columbia University and graduated from a BS and an MA in 1941 and 1952, respectively, before establishing herself as an artist. Her early abstract practice and works evolved in the spectrum of Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. By the late 1950s, Agnès Martin distanced her arts from representing abstract yet organic forms and supplanted it by highly simplified geometric abstractions.
Martin’s art committed to invoke a philosophical and deep experience in the viewer. Her abstract painting is also very much linked to Agnès Martin's very personal sense of nature from which Martin titled many of her artworks, such as White Flower (1960). The uniqueness of the abstractions is driven by grids and stripes that engage with the will to create a serene composition close to nature, “My paintings are about merging, about formlessness.” For more than forty years, Martin painted pioneering abstractions that explored large color panel as well as more subtle tones and the interaction with geometrics patterns evolving from minimalism to bold shapes. Agnès Martin has developed an iconic artistic style by featuring the most reductive elements to emphasize a truthful perception of reality. Suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, Agnès Martin interrupted her career and moved to New Mexico in 1968. Martin died on December 16, 2004, in Taos, New Mexico at the age of 92.
Today, she is internationally recognized as a figure in Abstraction and a major retrospective exhibition was held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2016. Martin’s artworks are permanently held in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Tate Gallery in London.