Agnes Martin and The Innocence of Trees

Listen (courtesy MoMA):

Read (courtesy MoMA):

Of the genesis of her paintings, Martin said,

“When I first made a grid I happened to be thinking of the innocence of trees and then this grid came into my mind and I thought it represented innocence, and I still do, and so I painted it and then I was satisfied. I thought, this is my vision.”

Martin rendered fine vertical lines and lightly shaded horizontal bands in oil and pencil, softening the geometric grid, which in this case seems to expand beyond the confines of the canvas. For Martin the grid evoked not a human measure but an ethereal one—the boundless order or transcendent reality associated with Eastern philosophies.

Above:  The Tree, Oil and pencil on canvas, 6 x 6′ (182.8 x 182.8 cm). Larry Aldrich Foundation Fund. © 2012 Estate of Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Below: Wood 1, 1963. Watercolor and pencil on paper, 15 x 15 1/2″ (38.1 x 39.4 cm). Fractional and promised gift of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky. © 2012 Estate of Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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