Agnes MARTIN, Untitled III Enlarge 1 /1

On display on Level 2

On display on Level 2

Agnes MARTIN

Canada 1912 – United States of America 2004

  • to United States of America 1931

Untitled III 1982 Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint, pencil, on canvas

Primary Insc: No inscriptions
Dimensions: 182.9 h x 182.9 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia, Inc., New York, NY, USA, made possible with the generous support of the American Art Foundation 1986
Accession No: NGA 86.1305
Image rights: © Agnes Martin/ARS. Licensed by Viscopy
Provenance:
  • the artist;
  • The Pace Gallery, New York;
  • donated by the American Art Foundation through the American Friends of the Australian National Gallery (AFANG) to the Australian National Gallery, April 1986

Agnes Martin’s paintings are the fruits of meditation. In her small studio she sat and waited for images to appear, and then drew and painted what she saw. A close-up viewing reveals the materiality of the weave of canvas, texture of paint and particles of graphite. From further back an illusion of dematerialised colour takes over, like a misty atmosphere or a pale effulgence of unearthly light. Seen from a distance, the work reverts to something fixed and objective, like mechanically printed graph paper, wallpaper patterns or flannelette bedsheets.

Martin invests geometric art with a metaphysical dimension. For her, art is about the absolute perfection, beauty and happiness experienced when our minds are free. The patterning in Untitled III conveys a balanced and geometric order. Of all her works she said:

They are light, lightness, about merging, about formlessness, breaking down form … [It] is to accept the necessity of the simple … as you would cross an empty beach to look at the ocean.

 


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008