Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin: A Field of Vision: Paintings from the 1980s

August 3, 2006 - March 5, 2007

<p>Agnes Martin, <i>Desert Flower</i>, 1985.</p>

Agnes Martin, Desert Flower, 1985.


"I want to draw a certain response," Agnes Martin stated in an interview in 1966. "Not a specific response but that quality of response from people when they leave themselves behind, often experienced in nature--an experience of simple joy...the simple, direct going into a field of vision as you would cross an empty beach to look at the ocean."The fourth in Dia’s ongoing installment focuses on her practice during the 1980s.


Press Release


Exhibition features works from 1980s and explores period of artistic experimentation

Jul 05, 2006

Beacon, New York— The fourth in an ongoing series of exhibitions devoted to Agnes Martin’s work organized by Dia Art Foundation, "A Field of Vision: Paintings from the 1980s" will be on view at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, from August 3, 2006, through March 5, 2007. Dia’s exhibition of eighteen paintings from this significant period in Martin’s career is organized as part of the exhibition program at Dia:Beacon.

Dia’s retrospective began in May 2004 with "…going forward into unknown territory…," which featured works from the decade 1957 to 1967, when Martin lived and worked in New York City. The second installment, "…unknown territory…," highlighted paintings from the mid-1960s. "To The Islands," the third in the series, explored the period from 1974 through 1979, when Martin resumed painting after a hiatus. The latest exhibition in the series, "A Field of Vision," will be followed in 2007 by the fifth and final presentation dedicated to works made from the 1990s to her death in 2004.

"A Field of Vision" focuses on an exceptionally productive decade in Martin’s career. During the 1980s, she experimented to an unprecedented degree with the boundaries of geometric abstraction. Living again in New Mexico, where she had first settled in the late 1960s, Martin now worked in relative seclusion. Pushing the boundaries of her artistic practice, she increasingly explored the possibilities of surface and color, while retaining the format of the six-foot-square canvas first employed in the 1960s. Known for her continuous, allover grid paintings, in the1980s Martin concentrated on horizontal divisions of the canvas almost exclusively, finding ever-new permutations by dividing canvas with pencil lines and varying the choice of colors and tonal range in increasingly fine, calibrated sequences. Rejecting the translucent washes of faint color seen during earlier periods, she alternated between a palette of pale pastels and somber grays, as she layered paint to create more robust, opaque surfaces.

"A Field of Vision" will be installed in a trio of newly configured galleries at Dia:Beacon. A brochure with color images of Martin’s paintings and an essay by Dia Art Foundation curator Lynne Cooke will accompany the exhibition.

Dia Art Foundation’s collection of Agnes Martin’s work comprises some twenty paintings, which range from her formative works to her later canvases. Dia has received promised gifts and long-term loans from a variety of sources, including Lannan Foundation, Louise and Leonard Riggio, the artist, and anonymous donors. Among the highlights of these gifts is the Innocent Love series, a nine-part suite of paintings made specifically for Dia, on long-term loan from Lannan Foundation.

This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of the Dedalus Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin was born in Macklin, Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1912. She grew up in Vancouver, then moved to Bellingham, Washington, in 1932. Martin gained a BA in 1942 and an MA in 1952 from Teachers College at Columbia University, New York, while intermittently living in New Mexico. In 1957 she relocated to Coenties Slip in Lower Manhattan, where her neighbors included the artists Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, James Rosenquist, Leonore Tawney, and Ann Wilson. Martin had her first one-person exhibition in 1958 at the Betty Parsons Gallery, New York. After ten years in Manhattan, she returned to the Southwest and lived and worked in Taos, New Mexico, until her death on December 16, 2004. Surveys of Martin’s work have been presented at venues including the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1973), the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1991), and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1992). She was awarded a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1997 and a National Endowment for the Arts Nation Medal of Arts in 1988, among other awards. In 1997 the Agnes Martin Gallery at the Harwood Museum of Art and the University of New Mexico was established.

Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries
Dia:Beacon, Dia Art Foundation’s museum in the Hudson Valley, presents a distinguished collection of contemporary art from the 1960s to the present. Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, New York, the museum occupies a former Nabisco box-printing facility, which was renovated by Dia with artist Robert Irwin and architect OpenOffice.

Dia:Beacon’s expansive galleries comprise 240,000 square feet of exhibition space illuminated by natural light. The museum houses works by a focused group of some of the most significant artists of the last half century, including Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Michael Heizer, Robert Irwin, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Imi Knoebel, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Bruce Nauman, Blinky Palermo, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman, Fred Sandback, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Andy Warhol, and Lawrence Weiner.

Programming at the museum includes a series of year-long temporary exhibitions as well as public programs designed to complement the collection and exhibitions, including monthly Gallery Talks, music performances by St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Readings in Contemporary Literature, Community Free Days for neighboring counties and an education program that serves area students at all education levels.

Dia:Beacon is easily reachable via Metro-North Railroad. The Hudson Line station in Beacon is within walking distance of the museum. Trains depart hourly from Grand Central Terminal in New York City. For schedule and fare information, please visit the MTA’s website at The museum is also reachable by major roadways. Driving directions are available on Dia’s website at Admission is $10 general, $7 for students and seniors, and free for Dia members and children under 12. Current summer hours are 11 am to 6 pm, Thursday–Monday, through October 16, 2006. Winter hours are 11 am to 4 pm, Friday through Monday. The public information line for the museum is (845) 400-0100.

Dia Art Foundation
Dia Art Foundation was founded in 1974. A nonprofit institution, Dia is internationally renowned for initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects. Dia presents public programs and its permanent collection of works from the 1960s through the present at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, in New York’s Hudson Valley. Dia has also proposed a plan to relocate its contemporary exhibition program in New York City to a new facility located at the future entrance to the High Line public park in downtown Manhattan. Additionally, the foundation maintains long-term, site-specific projects in the western United States, in New York City, and on Long Island.

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For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, or 212 293 5518

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