Agnes Martin

On a Clear Day

"When I think of art I think of beauty. Beauty is the mystery of life. It is not in the eye it is in the mind. In our minds there is awareness of perfection." Agnes Martin Between 1967 and 1973, Agnes Martin completed only a single body of work, a series of screenprints entitled "On a Clear Day". These 30 works are the only prints she ever made. Martin’s work eludes conventional art historical categories, bringing together seemingly divergent tenets. While she considers that her use of the grid as a development of the ‘all-over’ compositions of Abstract Expressionism, this format also refuses the physical gesture of the artist’s hand - a move that underscores the mechanization of print. The formal similarities with Minimalism - the art movement with which Martin is usually identified - namely its stark, geometric composition, and its apparent seriality, recede upon closer inspection, as the focus shifts to the subtle differences between each image. Far from imposing limits, Martin’s restrained vocabulary of horizontal and vertical lines suggests seemingly endless permutations. Grids with demarcated edges contrast to those which remain open. Subtle variations in the intensity of the lines or the configuration of the grid yield surprisingly diverse results, and, for those willing to pause, an exceptionally rewarding experience.
On a Clear Day
portfolio of 30 serigraphs in grey on cream laid japan paper, mounted in window mats of white Schoeller Parole paper, with introduction sheet, in black leather-faced cardboard box
38 x 38 cm each mat; image: 22.8 x 22.8 cm each
Credit line
Purchased 1994
Accession number