Charley Peters reviews Agnes Martin at Tate Modern

Abstract Critical

Abstract Critical publishes Charley Peters' review of the Tate's major Agnes Martin retrospective. See excerpt quoted below or click here to read the whole article.


"The power of Martin’s paintings is in their quiet declaration of their own existence; they are barely visible but resolutely present. Her use of colour and rhythm creates a sense of compositional harmony, but does not feel designed or contrived. The exhibition leaves us with an impression of Martin the person: critical, troubled, solitary, and Martin the artist: focused, critical, rigorous, the greatest paradox being the tough determination of the singular vision behind the delicate mind implied by the curator’s contextualising narrative. Martin was steely, unsentimental and driven; destroying work that was ‘unacceptable’ to her throughout her whole working life. So who was Agnes Martin: visionary; mystic; outsider; modernist; minimalist; abstract expressionist; solitary; schizophrenic; self-critical? She was all of these things to a lesser or greater extent, but most of all she was a painter of great integrity and purpose, and this is what Tate’s exhibition demonstrates most clearly."