New York

Agnes Martin

Pace Gallery

The reductivist fashion of the 1960s was so powerful that it determined the styles of many artists who, by what one can intuit about their temperaments, might have been expected to be naturally antagonistic to it. The strongest examples of this tension were, perhaps, the strange, banked fires of Agnes Martin and Brice Marden, artists whose appeal was and remains subtly but pervasively against-the-grain, subversive in nuance, feeling, mystique: not the exactness of the grid but the tremulousness of the pencilled line bumping over the tooth of the canvas, and not the monochrome slab but the felt analogy of tender oil/wax medium to sensitive flesh. And, in both, colors that dream of landscape. The abatement of the tension in recent years, with the ebbing of reductivism, has changed nothing in the orientation of either artist, but at least in Martin’s work it might be partly accountable for

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