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