new-york

Agnes Martin

Robert Elkon Gallery

If Mangold’s paintings can be described as arriving at abstraction through representation, in an inverse way Agnes Martin’s drawings from 1960 to 1967 can be seen as achieving representation through pure abstraction. Not that I mean to imply that there is any one-to-one relation between Martin’s work and nature. What she suggests is more an idea of nature than a transcription of perceptual reality. In reflections published in Artforum, April, 1973, Martin stated, “In our minds there is an awareness of perfection; when we look with our eyes we see it, and how it functions is mysterious to us and unavailable.” Through their classical simplicity, through the synonymity of the parts with the whole, Martin’s grids hint at this idea of perfection, which informs one’s knowledge of the phenomenal world. That there are evocations of landscape imagery in her work is due to one’s interpretation of

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