I once heard Louise Fishman exclaim, "by the way, Agnes Martin is the Buddha." If anyone ever needed proof, it has arrived in the form of this magnificent book, compiled by her long-time dealer Arne Glimcher.
First, of course, are the reproductions -- more than 150 exquisite reproductions of paintings, drawings, prints, installations, most of which have never been published before. They reveal Martin's range and depth with great clarity, and solidify the importance of her sustained contribution. They also provide an endless source of pure joy in their delicate, glowing, weightless beauty.
But in addition to the paintings, some of the greatest revelations here are Glimcher's first-hand accounts of his many visits to Martin's studio in New Mexico, and his descriptions of the tone and content of his conversations with the artist. They portray Martin as a truly extraordinary, shamanic character, haunted or guided by voices, living an ascetic life of total dedication to her discipline. Glimcher's descriptions of her studios (one in a spartan storefront in a strip mall), and her lifestyle (living on only one food item for extended periods to avoid distraction), are surprising insights into the extreme nature of her dedication and her life.
Combined with the many selections of the artist's writings and notes, which can become somewhat repetitive, if nevertheless consistent with her tenacious focus, this comprehensive book is a long awaited substantiation of Agnes Martin's place among the most important artists of the 20th century.
Agnes Martin, Untitled #5, 1975, 60 x 60 inches, acrylic & graphite on canvas
Agnes Martin, Untitled 17, 1997, 60 x 60 inches, acrylic & graphite on canvas