Jule Korneffel on Agnes Martin:
I feel a kinship with artistic positions that derive from very internalized dialogue. Among others (such as Cy Twombly, Mary Heilmann and Richard Tuttle), I find Agnes Martin’s introversion particularly relevant to me, because her ideas arrive at such powerful embodiment via reduction. It is fascinating to me, and a driving inspiration for my work, that reduction and introversion can lead to expansion.
I believe that a “quiet mind,” as Martin calls for, is a state of being that is profound and far-reaching. It seems that her quietness goes with endurance and a mental will to change common paths. It is remarkable to me that her emphasis on turning her back to society doesn’t come with resentment, but favors a focus on what seems to be essential or most relevant to her. The way I see it, Agnes Martin’s devotion to the spirituality that comes with a simple lifestyle is a radical political statement, more than ever relevant in today’s loud and overloaded world.
My favorite artworks of hers are the highly diluted acrylic on canvas stripe-paintings she made in the 1990s. The way the light color arises and withdraws from the viewer’s eyes points out how she intends to engage the viewer via a sensual experience. These paintings foster sensibility that, in a way, is based on a respect for the individual. Her strength and range lies in a determined quietness that is, in its own way, abundant and open.
I was able to explore this last summer when traveling to Agnes Martin’s former habitats throughout New Mexico. Experiencing the desert landscapes while studying her paintings (at the Agnes Martin Gallery at the Harwood Museum in Taos) made clear to me how much her art connected to the environment. Though she is rooted in
spirituality, I believe in her work there is not one without the other: physicality and spirituality are two sides of the same coin, which I would call the “no-thing.” Together, they form a dialectic that holds a threshold of shifting awareness. I want my paintings to carry this too.
Title: Close-up. Date: 2016. Materials: vinyl, acrylic on canvas/ acrylic on stretcher bars. Dimensions: 34 x 24 inches. Photo by: Daniel Greer.