“Martin’s cool geometric abstractions are butterfly nets for emotion.” Alistair Sooke
The undoubted highlight from the Agnes Martin Tate Modern retrospective for me was Room 9, containing the twelve “white” paintings from 1979 know as The Islands. This room was an amazing experience…unique and like no other I have encountered before at an art exhibition. It is no exaggeration to say that all the visitors in this room were reverential, contemplative and some how transformed into a heightened state of being by some invisible auratic field.
There was one barefooted woman enjoying the show who, in each room, sat down wherever she could and just let the paintings seep into her – body and soul. I am reminded of Yoko Ono’s The Blue Room Event where visitors were encouraged to stay in an all white room until it turned blue. When explaining this she said that the room was a starting point for an interaction, the larger part of which took place in the mind.
Alastair Sooke, in a review of the show talks about the ability Martin’s paintings have to capture energy. Put twelve of them together in a room and the experience resembles a spiritual deepening into silence, an invocation to something bigger than ourselves. In the Nelson Goodman “When is art?” sense art is clearly happening as an event here. A pure delight!