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Canada 1912 – United States of America 2004

  • Movements: to United States of America 1931

Untitled III 1982 paintings, synthetic polymer paint, pencil, on canvas
Technique: synthetic polymer paint, pencil, on canvas
Primary Insc: No inscriptions
182.9 h x 182.9 w cm
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
© Agnes Martin/ARS. Licensed by Viscopy

  • 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