Agnes Martin


Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh | 6 Aug 2009 to 14 Mar 2010


75 Belford Road
United Kingdom

Opening Hours

Daily 10:00am - 5:00pm


The Canadian-American artist Agnes Martin was among the most important painters and drawers of her generation, with her simultaneously restrained and expressive work often thought of as a bridge between the schools of abstract expressionism and minimalism that dominated painterly practice in the decades following the Second World War.

Although Martin’s works are in no way representational and the artist always insisted they held no references to landscape, she was inspired by Chinese Tao philosophy and the vast deserts of New Mexico where she resided for most of her life. ‘I want people, when they look at my paintings,’ she noted in 1993, ‘to have the same feelings they experience when they look at landscape… But it’s really about the feeling of beauty and freedom.’

This display featured a selection of her work from ARTIST ROOMS and was also complemented by works lent by a private collection, a rare opportunity to experience at first hand the ethereal beauty of Martin's minimalist painting. Dating from between 1994 and 2003, the paintings presented at the Gallery of Modern Art highlighted the scope of Martin's late practice, particularly her tactile handling of paint and use of a broader range of hues in her palette. In the late 1990s, after a long period of leaving her works untitled, Martin reintroduced titles into her work to evoke states of euphoria and memories of past happiness, as in the two paintings Happy Holiday1999 and Faraway Love 1999 that were exhibited here.

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