Monday, November 11, 2013

Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin's  Innocent Love 1999 acrylic on canvas series at the Dia Beacon, New York.  There are eight paintings in this series, four on each wall.  All are 60 inches square.

Q:  How do you start a painting?
A:  "I wait for inspiration.
I ask my mind - What am I going to paint next? and it appears in my mind.  My inspirations are in colour. "

She uses mathematics to decide the scale and relation of the colours.  She draws lines with a small ruler because a big ruler pushes the canvas down.
Happiness.  Innocent Love series 1999


"For twenty years I was not satisfied with my paintings and at the end of every year I had a big fire. "

Love:  Innocent Love series 1999

Waiting for inspiration.

"I was thinking of innocence, and a grid came into my mind, and so I painted it.  6 feet by 6 feet and I liked it.  It looked like innocence.  And I asked the museum of Modern Art if they wanted it and they did."

Contentment: Innocent Love series 1999

"Sometimes I take a year off so I'll know something,
because when you're painting, you just get up and do it.
You don't know it."
Innocent Love series seen through opening,  on the facing wall is The Spring, 1958. 48" square
"Artists are very fortunate.  Other working people have to talk to people all day.
You just can't be an artist if you can't be alone.
When you're alone, you are affected by everything. 
The sky, nature..   You respond."
Untitled #16, 2002.  The thin paint allows the roughness of the gesso undercoating to be more evident.
"It's not really about nature.  It's about what is known forever in the mind.

The environment doesn't have impact on my work.  I don't paint nature."

untitled 1959, 30 inches square

"When I draw horizontals  - it's expanding

I like the horizontal line better than any other.  It's not related to landscape.
It goes out.
When you look at the painting you go in over the horizontal line.

It's like music.
Some musicians compose music about music.
Beethoven composed music about experience.
It has meaning.
Painters can paint about painting, but my painting is about meaning.
I use that horizontal line to get meaning."
left:  untitled 70", 1960 oil, painted when the artist was 48,  right: untitled #17,2002, acrylic, painted at 90 years


"They were non subjective.
No emotions were in the work.
Minimalists tried to be not there. 
They wouldn't put their names under the paintings.
They said to write their names with a number.
People call me a minimalist, but I'm not.
I'm an abstract expressionist.
I sign my name on the back."

The Beach, 6 foot square pencil on white Gesso painting from 1964 - detail. 

Empty mind

"The intellect struggles with facts.
Keep discovering facts, then make a deduction.
But this is just guess work, inadequate.
You won't find out about life.

I gave up facts in order to have an empty mind.
You have to practice an empty mind.
I gave up being intellectual.
I don't have ideas.

I'm convinced that with a soft attitude you receive more."

Agnes Martin (1912 - 2004) quotes from Mary Lance's documentary With My Back To The World. 
Images are of Agnes Martin's 2012 installation at the Dia: Beacon.  
Another excellent interview with Agnes Martin (1997) is here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lisa di Quinzio

Left: Wool, Silk and Thread 2010, wool blankets, silk threads, nails, woven, 91 inches diameter
Right: Good Morning Midnight, 2010, burlap, dye, twine, nails, woven, 91 inches diameter

Installed together in the Quiet Zone exhibition, World of Threads festival, November 2012.

They are different from each other.
They are the same as each other.
They are opposite colours.
They are both neutrals..
detail of wool, silk and thread

"My work usually holds some element of gesture"
 detail of good morning midnight

"I think art should demonstrate the immediate on some level."
 Misty Shapes, burlap, dye, thread, glue, 45" diameter

" I am inspired by literature"

Lisa speaks of the clown as an underlying theme for much of her work.  She says that clowns are about our own self consciousness.  They are both foolish and wise,  aggressive and passive.
 Ruff, cotton, dirt, thread, 45" diameter

How does the repeated use of the circle in Lisa di Quinzio's textile work connect to her concerns about immediacy, gesture and the dualities personified in clowns?
 Pussy Willow, pussy willows, thread, pins 25" diameter

Jung  thought of the circle as an archetype of the psyche and  the square as an archetype of the body.
Pussy willow detail

Note that Lisa's circles are not set within squares but are pinned directly to the wall.  The unprotected and solitary large circles exude a kind of  strength.
Dummies, 67" h, cotton, foam and wire by Lisa di Quinzio

aggression and passivity 
wise and foolish
white and black
archetypal form
dualities in  life
Spill, jute with metal base, 1985 by Claire Zeisler, (1903 - 1981)

Lisa di Quinzio sites Claire Ziesler (above) as an  influence. More images of  Zeisler's are here.
All quotes and many of the images in this post are from the World of Threads interview with the artist.