Early Work

AGNES MARTIN'S LATE WORK, distilling painting to an ultimate system of information, has been seminal to a generation of Minimal artists who have also rejected arbitrary elements in order to define the operations of painting and sculpture. Yet the elimination of chance and contingencies from her work has never been the outcome of programmatic decision; it was the result of a slow and often painful struggle to find those processes essential to painting which would be in accord with her philosophy of the “awareness of perfection” as expressed in art. Martin had to experience all elements subjectively, through long periods of trial and error in which she tested small variations in scale as well as more generic subjects, themes, and forms. She had to undergo these permutations visually and not purely conceptually in order to see whether they satisfied the desire, at first noetic and then

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