Just a few more days of studying Agnes! Here's my notes from the week...
For 18 months, Agnes Martin drove around the Pacific Northwest, Canada, and the American Southwest, circling the areas where she'd grown up and sleeping in the camper the truck hauled. She maintained limited contact with friends. At the time she felt that's what she needed, time alone, time to think. Several years later looking back she felt differently:
Agnes, at age 56, settled in New Mexico and began building an adobe and log house on rented land in a remote mesa outside Cuba. She had no telephone and no electricity. Rainwater was collected for drinking and water for other needs was pumped from a well. She often resorted to extreme food restrictions like only hard cheese, homegrown tomatoes, and walnuts one winter and later only Knox gelatin mixed with orange juice and bananas. She still wasn't painting but explored other creative outlets--writing, building, working the land.
Living in Cuba, NM, Agnes began to make contact with friends again, resume traveling, and welcome a few visitors to her new home. In 1971 she traveled to Germany to create a series of 30 screenprints, titled On a Clear Day. (1973) This series contains two important changes in her work: first clarity of line, she wanted the printer to straighten out her lines. This sharper line reduced the hand-made look of creating. Two, the concept of a series, allowed her to spread meaning over a body of work. Repetition not just within a single work but also within the body of work became a theme.
In 1976, Agnes produced a feature-length movie titled, Gabriel. The movie was shot in color with no script or storyboard over three months.
A critic said about the film, "Agnes Martin is a great painter and whatever she does has an importance. Her film is no great cinema, that I have to state from the outset. But it is a very beautiful film."
In the mid-1970's Agnes began painting again, after about a 7 year break.
I was reading a critic's review of one of Agnes' early pieces in which it was suggested that the lines or dots were some kind of language or Morse Code. That gave me the idea to insert some kind of message into my painting.
So I did some research and I bought some stickers to help me make the dots and dashes evenly. Then I wrote out this quote from Agnes in Morse Code on top of an old painting.
Then I added washes and layers and lines. I tried to embrace some of the "mistakes" as I've read there's a real element of "made by hand" in her work such as allowing the pencil lines and even ruler measurements to show.
Overall even though it doesn't look like what I imagined, I'm pleased with how it turned out. It feels like a good mix of my style with Agnes.