the journey of an artist

the journey of an artist

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Agnes Martin

I've been busy with details this week. Canvases to stretch, supplies to order, inventory to put in order, emails to answer. I happened to catch an hour long interview with abstract impressionist Agnes Martin one night on the Ovation channel. Part of the interview, now on YouTube, follows.

I have to admit that I have never understood Martin's work until seeing this show. Sure, I have viewed her works in museums, but never could grasp what they were about or why she painted them. Now, I understand; I was looking too fast.

Martin spent forty years of her life painting mostly six-foot canvases of lines. Just lines, in many colors and patterns. Now, that's dedication to a theme!

Hearing Martin speak about her work made me realize that I cannot dismiss these works as just lines. They are each a mood, an emotion, a wisp of an internal reality rather than a representation of an external thing. To understand such an artwork, a person has to slow down to the vibration of that painting. To create such an artwork, an artist has to be empty of everything else but the work.

A reminder for me to slow down, don't let the business details get in the way, and simply enjoy the process of creating.

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