Posts tagged with "Painting":

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Urs Fischer presents a dark domestic fairy tale at the Brant Foundation

The Swiss artist Urs Fischer has returned to The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, which first presented a solo show of his work in 2010, with ERROR, a surreal landscape of sculptures, paintings, and a full-scale cabin—partially made of slowly molding bread. Bread House had originally been staged in 2004 and has been reconstructed this time with (thankfully) new bread, which will again decay and rot and stink. The life-size alpine cabin is lined with rugs and is held together with the help of expanding foam and wood. (In some past iterations the house has been populated by young parakeets, which feed off the bread.) Other fairy-tale-esque domestic fixtures are also on display, though not within the walls of the yeasty home, including bed sculptures, like Kratz (2011), a bed collapsing under the weight of a pile of concrete, and Untitled (2011), a bed seemingly collapsing under the ghostly weight of nothing. Stranger still perhaps, there is Horse/Bed (2013), a deconstructed hospital bed merged with an aluminum horse, like some sort of sick harness. To create this eerie form, Fischer blended 3-D scans of a taxidermied workhorse and a hospital bed. There is, of course, seating too, like You Can Not Win (2003), a falling over plain plaster chair that’s been impaled by an over-four-foot-tall white BIC lighter. That might be comical, but more jarring is a fountain-cum-chair draped with a skeleton, pietà-style, called Invisible Mother (2015). All of these works—along with other sculptures, paintings, and mixed media objects—create a dreamlike (or nightmare-like, depending on your disposition) environment that overwhelms and confuses to giddying effect. URS FISCHER: ERROR The Brant Art Foundation Study Center Greenwich, CT Through October 14
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Artist Leslie Wayne reveals What's Inside her inner world

A new exhibition by New York–based artist Leslie Wayne explores everyday spaces and how, through alternative modes of representation, we can see those environments in a deeper light. What’s Inside, now on view at New York City's Jack Shainman Gallery through March 30, features Wayne’s newest collection of paintings that detail basic domestic scenes like messy closets, busy bookshelves, and broken windows. These disheveled objects evoke a German Expressionist perspective, according to the artist, and unveil Wayne’s political and personal anxieties through singular depictions of an inner world that’s “not quite right,” but can be fixed. AN spoke with Wayne via email about the layered inspiration behind What’s Inside, and how color, both in architecture and in painting, can manipulate the emotions of its viewers. She also explains why studying art that highlights buildings or interior design can ultimately strengthen a person’s appreciation for the built environment. The Architect's Newspaper: Your current collection seems to build off your previous window pieces for Free Experience. Can you explain why you decided to continue that project and how this show takes those previous themes to another level? Leslie Wayne: As an abstract artist, my whole career, I’ve been wanting to bring representation into my work, but I didn’t quite know how it would manifest itself given the idiosyncratic way I use paint. Those first window paintings gave me a way to do that. Conceptually, they allowed me to express my feelings and ideas about the world around me, about the current state of affairs, as well as my own personal life, by using domestic architectural forms as a motif and as a kind of organizing principle. I realized that my abstract paintings always kept you on a threshold—of what was visible, and what was beneath and behind the surface that you could never quite completely see or understand. Architectural thresholds can operate in much the same way. By making a painting of a doorway that is just barely cracked open, or a window that is boarded up, I’m keeping you on that threshold. So actually, I’m still exploring the same thing, only in a more pictorial way.    AN: Why did you choose to focus on normal interior objects and spaces? What draws you to imagining these details in a new way? LW: I’m drawing largely on my immediate surroundings—the armoire in my bedroom, the tool chest in my husband’s studio, and my bookshelves. While the forms as furniture are universal, their contents are autobiographical, and they tell you a lot about what makes up my life. In the beginning, the idea of creating a painting of a closet was just a response to my need to move on from an earlier body of work. But then the idea of closets became more interesting to me as types of containers. Containers, not just of clothing and everyday objects, but of things we hold dear, or secrets we want to keep. And then came the paintings of drawers and bookshelves, containers that hold evidence of your life—books you’ve read, music you listen to, materials you use for work, etc. And on a purely formal level, closets, shelves, and window frames provide an interesting platform for different kinds of architectural motifs, which as a painter is great because it’s just an endless source of visual information. AN: Your work is very colorful and tactile. What do the different colors and the way those hues bring a tangible quality to your paintings say about these mundane architectural spaces you depict? LW: Color is loaded with emotive power, much the same way that music is. It can be used to express tremendously strong feelings, but, because of that, you’re in danger of being manipulative and clichéd if you go too far. It’s tricky. You want to seduce the viewer but not knock them over the head with it! Most people, when they’re thinking about architecture they’re thinking about the facade and the overall shape of a building or an architectural detail. They’re not considering the way in which a building is a container and a shelter and how the design and the color of an interior space can determine the way you feel when you go inside of it. We were in Mexico City recently and went to the house of Luis Barragán. It was very interesting to see how he used color to visually block out certain spaces and establish an overall feeling of a room. Yellow walls made you feel warm and welcomed, pink walls gave you a sensation of joy and anticipation. I loved that. For me, when I’m painting, I try to use color to do much the same thing, to convey a sensation. AN: Why is it valuable to look at architecture and interiors through the alternative lenses of painting or photography, rather than being in the space itself? LW: I would say that it’s valuable to look at architecture and interiors through the alternative lenses of painting or photography in addition to being in the space itself. There’s no substitute for having a direct experience of an architectural space. But I think we take those spaces for granted. And those of us in dense urban environments usually have our heads down (or buried in our cell phones!) when we’re walking rather than looking up and noticing what tremendously rich details are on buildings all around us. It’s valuable to reconsider what those spaces mean to us and art can take you there through the poetry of metaphor and illusion. If you’ve ever been taken by a Fra Angelico painting for example, like The Annunciation, then perhaps next time you’re inside a space that has vaulted ceilings you’ll be reminded of the painting and become aware of the ceiling’s elegance and structural integrity. Or a Dorothea Lange photograph of a young sharecropper’s log cabin can make you really feel what it must mean to live in a structure of such simplicity. Bernd and Hilla Becher spent their lives documenting industrial architecture and brought the simplest most overlooked structures, like water towers, into the realm of the sublime. We look at these things every day, but art helps us see them more deeply. See Wayne’s new show, What’s Inside, at the Jack Shainman Gallery at 513 West 20th Street, New York, New York.
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Chicago's South Side Community Art Center looks at life during the Great Migration

Founded in 1940 by a group of artists devoted to capturing images of black life in flux during the Great Migration, Chicago’s historic South Side Community Art Center became a designated Chicago Landmark in 1994 and was given National Treasure status by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2017. As the only Works Progress Administration (WPA) Art Center still operating in its original building, for nearly 80 years the South Side Community Art Center has been a sanctuary for emerging African American artists, many of whom have gone on to become icons. Change the Canvas, Change the World: A Landscape of Cultural Discovery, sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art, explores the work and careers of artists who made the center and the South Side their creative home, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Burroughs, Langston Hughes, Gordon Parks, Katherine Dunham, Elizabeth Catlett, Archibald Motley, and other contributors to the center’s legacy.

Change the Canvas, Change the World: A Landscape of Cultural Discovery South Side Community Art Center 3831 South Michigan Avenue Chicago Through March 2
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Meet the artist who hand-paints ski maps for resorts around the world

Ever thought about who sketches those trail maps you rely on so heavily at ski resorts around the United States? We’ll venture to say you haven’t. Maybe all that usually comes to mind as you slide off the ski lift is that the image ahead of you is simply a digitized version of an aerial photo. Meet James Niehues, the Denver-based artist who draws and hand-paints snow trails for resorts around the world. His life’s work guides skiers down mountains at nearly 200 resorts on five separate continents. In his 30-year career, he’s worked with clients such as Breckenridge in Colorado, Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, Mount Snow in Vermont, Whakapapa in New Zealand, and Portillo in Chile. According to Outside, Niehues currently aims to publish a book detailing the many maps he’s completed since beginning his work in 1988. He’s raising money for the legacy project in a Kickstarter campaign, which ends tomorrow. Niehues told Outside that the idea for the book has been top of mind since the mid-nineties, but he’s just now pursuing it after expanding his portfolio of projects. Each one of them is deeply personal and takes time, he said, averaging three months to complete. When starting a contract for a map, Niehues personally shoots aerial photographs and panoramas of the site in order to choose the best angles to put down to paper with a pencil. Since its invention, Google Maps has also enhanced his work, but he insists on exploring the mountain with his own eyes. Niehaus sees his maps as individual pieces of art and visuals that people can dream about while simultaneously using as tools to judge a mountain. “I think a computer-generated map is a reflection of the office—it’s rigid,” he said in an interview with Outside. “A hand-painted map reflects the outdoors. You ski to get into that environment.” In this explanation, he suggests that the typical architectural rendering, something that gives insight into what’s to come, is valuable but isn't as alluring as his final product: the painted vision of the trail. Through his own observant eye and ability to translate by hand the details of nature into a design, the mountain is brought to life on paper and helps skiers understand the terrain.
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Norwegian National Museum showcases Le Corbusier's overlooked paintings

An exhibition in Oslo, Norway, is showcasing some of Le Corbusier's most important and oft-overlooked paintings. The exhibition, Le Corbusier by the Sea, is themed around the architect's sojourns in the French seaside town of Le Piquey where he would sketch natural objects like pinecones and shells. These sketches would be worked into paintings when he returned to his Paris studio. Several of the paintings also depict bathers lounging in the sand, rendered in informal, curvilinear shapes that recall the organic geometries that Corbusier's architecture tended toward later in his career. A statement from the museum posits that the architect was inspired by the shabby houses of local fishermen and links his visits to the area with his works' turn toward supple stone and wood forms and away from the austere High Modernism of his earliest buildings. The exhibition includes letters and various artifacts from Le Corbusier's life between 1926–36 when the architect traveled every summer to the shore. Two films on the famous designer will also be screened as part of the show and are intended to show the lighter side of the man's personality. The show is being held in the Villa Stenersen, a venue managed by the Nasjonalmuseet, Norway's National Museum. The Villa is itself an architectural attraction, being a carefully-preserved Functionalist home that was designed in 1937–1939 by Arne Korsmo, a leading Norwegian architect. The structure is in the process of being restored to its original colors and materials. The show will be up until December 16, 2018. Click here for more information.
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New Landon Metz exhibit uses art to frame architecture

Asymmetrical Symmetry, an exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Landon Metz, is now on view through October 20 at Manhattan’s Sean Kelly Gallery. His latest body of work unveils a series of site-responsive paintings that were created to directly complement the massive, Toshiko Mori-designed art space. Inside the 22,000-square-foot, white-box gallery, Metz has placed five distinct groups of paintings. Using the walls, floors, and even the ceiling as display spaces, Metz forces the viewer to contend with his unorthodox arrangement of the art. The architecture of the room, from its industrial concrete flooring to the white paint-covered mechanical systems overhead, is on full display as part of the artwork’s narrative, according to Metz. “Here you’ll see that nothing is covered up in this room,” he said. “The natural tone of the primed canvas as well as the object on the canvas itself merges with the other panels and with the environment to become one. I wanted to emphasize the subtleties of the space so people could create their own authorship over the art.” The pieces on display are rendered in four unique colors mixed by the artist using watered-down dye. Metz outlined the shape on every canvas and then poured the color into every figure, allowing the color to fill uniquely every time. Gravity forced the dye to create surface tension on the canvas and form different gradients within the shapes. Metz noted this material-focused painting method made him relinquish his own authorship over the art as well, especially since from a distance, the imperfections of the paintings aren’t as easily visible, but closer up the differences are more clear. The show also highlights his tendency to paint between canvases, allowing one whole form to be articulated across two panels. By hanging the panels in a series, he aimed to enhance the framework of the room. “It now becomes more of a choreographed dance when you enter the gallery and see the repetition combined with the negative space,” Metz said. “Even the columns become sculptural objects. The works aren’t just isolated to the walls, but the entire room becomes an object as well and contributes to the sound of the space.” Metz likened the architecture to a musical composition with the panels laid out as long and short notes with breaks in between where the white wall takes over. “I was working to create sounds that rise out of silence, kind of like the way architecture unfolds from something that was once nothing and becomes a form of measure we inhabit,” he said. “The rhythm in this gallery allows you to move freely throughout the space in a way that can be different from a traditional exhibition. There are preconditioned expectations as to how to act in a place like this, but I wanted people to have authority over it and choose where they want to go, even if they want to stand in the middle and take it all in.” Metz’s meditative approach to painting allows his practice to be both concentrated and methodical, but without total control over the end result. As a new addition to the Sean Kelly Gallery, he’ll have the opportunity to create new works that further tell the story of the space. Metz will lead a walk-through tour of the exhibition this Saturday at 11 a.m. with a live stream on the gallery’s Instagram Story.
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Peep these modernist homes transplanted into Thomas Kinkade paintings

Ever looked at a Thomas Kinkade painting of a cozy cottage nestled into an impossibly golden landscape and thought: That picture would be better with some avant-garde architecture? If so, you're not alone. One Indianapolis-based architect took to Twitter this weekend to debut his series of mashups featuring modernist structures set inside Kinkade's light-filled, idyllic settings. The resulting images—which are stunning—were precipitated when architect Donna Sink asked the Twitterverse if anyone could take on the challenge: @robyniko responded saying he’d start off “easy” with Louis Kahn’s Fisher House, which apparently screams “for the twilight treatment.” Several other interested viewers chimed in with requests for @robyniko, and the series began to form. He set Philip Johnson’s Glass House within a breathtaking creekside mountain vista, and then put Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye inside a Christmas winter wonderland. He also placed Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House within a meadow and forest landscape. @robyniko’s Twitter bio discloses that he’s a self-proclaimed procrastinator, but this mashup series was undoubtedly encouraged by those scrolling in earnest and tweeting at him: “You definitely had to do this,” from @SWardArch, and, “I hope these end up in your portfolio,” from @ianwrob. The Architect’s Newspaper reached out to @robyniko to get more details on why he decided to pursue the unlikely project. “It was one of those asides that you chuckle about imagining and then move on,” he said, “but I was home for the weekend without my family and decided to indulge my curiosity about how these famous modernist homes would fit into Kinkade’s universe.” @robyniko noted that though he approached the project as a way to distract himself, it ended up conjuring something worthy of discussion. “I think that, given the difference in who typically appreciates Kinkade’s ‘never-was’ nostalgia versus who likes modern architecture,” he said, “it can be part of a conversation about architecture, representation, and how the public responds to both.” And the response was clearly strong. When @robnyiko uploaded his final rendered masterpiece, the oceanside Gehryhaus—a relocation of Frank Gehry’s residence in the Santa Monica suburbs—his followers realized all of these water-adjacent buildings represented in the thread would be likely to flood. In a later tweet, @robnyiko jokingly concluded that Kinkade’s work is a commentary on climate change, a theory he backs up with an attached screenshot of a Google Image search showing row after row of blown-out Kinkade paintings with skies that evoke the smoke and haze of this summer's wildfires. Maybe Kinkade’s work isn’t a nod to global warming, and maybe these modernist homes strictly belong where they were originally built. But this mashup presents a unique perspective on how a piece of architecture can be irrevocably altered when it's transplanted into new surroundings, especially those of Kinkade's somewhat surreal universe. More than that, these world-renowned buildings become nearly unrecognizable in these alternate settings, presenting questions about the relationship between the stark, minimalist designs and the soft, meadowy landscapes. As both Kinkade's work and modernism as a movement can be potentially polarizing forms of art, can these genres combine to form a common ground for people to see them in a new light? 
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Brooklyn artist Leigh Ruple creates moody paintings of Williamsburg

The mundane moments of Williamsburg trespass on Leigh Ruple’s canvases. The Brooklyn-based artist’s works are inspired by her daily life, featuring stylized, temperamental depictions of objects and figures abstracted within an array colors and forms. Her studio is located in East Williamsburg, allowing her to observe the architecture and people within the thriving neighborhood, and the geometries and patterns of the district’s local architecture have become motifs of her paintings. Her work also explores the city’s nightscape, with changing highlights and shadows. In a painting titled Nightstand, the Manhattan skyline is backlit by moonlight, while an assortment of prosaic objects including kitchen gloves, a pair of scissors, and a trimmed plant occupies the foreground, hinting at the inner life of an unseen subject. In Red Door, a bare-chested man sitting on an inverted tin bucket paints a fence door from blue to red; the red light shining from behind the fence illuminates parts of the man’s torso. The placid scene is dramatized with contrasting tones, hues, and lighting effects. Ruple is an expert in conveying moods through colors and composition. In Healthful, the ordinary scene of shopping for apples is exaggerated with backlit lighting and a heightened exaggeration of a mainly red-and-blue palette. The face of the shopper is tinted with magenta, the same shade as the apples in the basket. Ruple continues to draw references from New York’s cityscape and frequently captures the sidewalks, lampposts, animals, and plants with her paintbrush. In many paintings, a main figure takes center stage, often with blank and indifferent expressions; a reference to the solitude and loneliness of living in a bustling city like New York. Leigh Ruple’s most recent exhibition was at the Morgan Lehman Gallery.
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Two Cuban artists uniquely capture Detroit's built environment—both its decay and hope for the future

Two Cuban artists, Alejandro Campins and Jose Yaque, feature in the City of Queen Anne’s Lace exhibition now on view at the Wasserman Projects gallery in Detroit. Using painting, sculpture, and drawing, they embody the emotion of Detroit's past, present, and future. Campins' works, laconic in style, are similar to those of Polish artist Joseph Schulz, whose Form 14 (archetypal of Schulz's style) exhibits architecture without detail. That work was cited by critic Stephen Parnell in his essay "Post-truth architecture." "Stripped of just a few elements, such as lettering, mundane architecture can reveal an uncanny elegance," Parnell said. The same could be said of Campins' paintings, if not for the moody tones and visible brush strokes (he used oils, watercolors, and also pencil) that convey the opposite. His works represent an abandoned Detroit, yet, despite their sense of silence, there are symbols of optimism: A green traffic signal and blank billboard can be interpreted as signifiers of opportunity. Yaque's work, meanwhile, is more explicitly optimistic. Made from Detroit's recycled trash, a large-scale installation rises up from the ground, topped with grass, flowers, and other greenery. The work appears at a glance to be molded by layers of sediment and soil (and Detroit's history)—almost as if a section of the earth's crust lifted from the ground. The piece physically dominates the gallery; exactly what is atop the chunk of recycled earth is unknown and out of sight, but we know from what we do see is that the land upon which is grows is evidently fertile. This piece also references the exhibition's name. Also known as a "Wild Carrot," Queen Anne's Lace is a flower that is commonly found sprouting from the city's decaying buildings. While most often associated with Detroit's downfalls, the plant has substantial nutritional value. Yaque also uses a more traditional medium. Like his Cuban counterpart, he draws, though Yaque employs charcoal to depict Detroit's urban vernacular. Yaque's technique allows his drawings to be nostalgic as they don the faded aesthetic of a century-old photograph. Smudging, often applied to the based of a work, connotes energy—the lost energy of the lonely landmarks and time passing by, wind-like and invariably contributing to the building's demise. Unlike his built work, these images hark back to a Detroit that is certainly consigned to memory, with buildings either no longer used or repurposed. However, in a similar vein to his sculpture, this reference point is only implied. City of Queen Anne’s Lace has been curated by Rafael DiazCasas, an art historian and independent curator based in New York City. The exhibition came about after Wasserman Projects founder Gary Wasserman saw Campins' works while in Havana. Through DiazCasas, the two discussed the parallels between Detroit's and Cuba's history. Inspired by this, Campins visited the Michigan city for himself, later introducing Yaque to the city too. The pair encountered much Wild Carrot during their foray into Detroit. According to a press release, they found the flower to be symbolic of change and natural rebalancing. This sentiment formed the basis of their work for the exhibition, promoting a feeling of hope while looking at Detroit through an alternative lens. City of Queen Anne’s Lace is on view at Wasserman Projects through June 24, 2017.
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Exhibition showcases 60 years of a Cuban-American painter's exploration of vernacular architecture

The Architect’s Newspaper’s April 2017 issue takes a deep dive into Florida to coincide with the upcoming AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando (April 27 to 29). You can see all those articles on this page. Here, Senior Editor Matt Shaw’s editorial from that issue highlights what we’ve explored in the Sunshine State.

Emilio Sanchez in South Florida Collections marks the artist’s first show in South Florida in over a decade. The Cuban-American painter’s work is largely centered on his time in Cuba and the Caribbean and, later on, in New York City. His paintings depict the vernacular of his surroundings, often finding inspiration in existing structures and scenes and transforming them into abstract and surreal portraits. “His keen eye and remarkable ability to edit out incidental elements and details imbue the work with a dreamlike quality, as if the buildings he depicted existed in a parallel universe born of memory, longing, and imagination,” said co-curator Victor Deupi, an architecture scholar, in an interview with Cuban Art News. The exhibition encompasses six decades of Sanchez’s professional career, displaying paintings from the 1940s through the 1990s. Alongside his paintings, the museum will display sketchbooks, doodles, and other personal documents to paint a better picture, if you will, of this artist’s prolific work.

EMILIO SANCHEZ IN SOUTH FLORIDA COLLECTIONS Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami 1301 Stanford Drive Coral Gables, Florida Through May 21, 2017

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Frederick Kiesler’s little known ‘painted’ images go on view at New York's Jason McCoy Gallery

Frederick Kiesler is well known as an artist/architect/designer who worked between disciplines and professional categories. His recent retrospective at The Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna highlighted his work as an architect, theater designer, and creator of ground-breaking exhibition spaces like Peggy Guggenheim’s 1942 Art of This Century gallery. A current show at the Jason McCoy Gallery features Kiesler’s little known ‘painted’ images done in ink, oil, and tempera mounted on boards. The exhibit Galaxies of the 1950s highlights Kiesler’s strategy that these works were not created as individual works, but in a series where “the space between the different parts was just as important as the paintings themselves,” as the gallery said in a press release. In fact, he diagrammed and planned the surrounding space of the series, often measuring down to fractions of an inch. Ever the early 20th-century Viennese architect/artist, this series reflected the idea that the "inner necessity" of the work as a whole was the same as “breathing is to our body reality." Each work, Kiesler wrote, “represents a definite unit in itself just as in one family each member is of distinct individuality." Yet for Kiesler, art, like the architect, could no longer “be placed in isolation: that art must strive again to become part of daily experience." He reminds us, in these beautiful works, that painters, sculptors, and architects must still conceive their work as part of the world. Jason McCoy Gallery 41 East 57th Street 11th floor Galaxies of the 1950s is on view until April 29, 2017.
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Survey of Agnes Martin's moving, minimalist paintings is on view at the Guggenheim

“I used to look in my mind for the unwritten page If my mind was empty enough I could see it…” —Agnes Martin The Agnes Martin retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, which opened at the Tate Modern in June 2015 before traveling to Düsseldorf then Los Angeles, presents an intensively engaging collection of work by perhaps the most emotionally honest abstract expressionist painter of the twentieth century. Never before has a painter combined the subtle influence of nature with geometric structure in the pursuit of beauty and enlightenment within a non-representational, self-discovered lexicon that prioritizes giving up the things you do not like for those things that are “acceptable to your mind.” Though Martin’s work from early to late periods feels calculated and in a sense cerebral in its adherence to the line and its parental grids, it consistently negates ideology, substance, and relatability. It is the cellular mechanism of the metaphysical in her work that constitutes substance or nature in her paintings. This quality of tonal otherworldliness inspires sensations of optimism or hope through vulnerability, delicacy, and craft in a way that offers critique of the minimalist tendency in terms of its inherent philosophical attraction to emptiness and its ironic relationship to feeling or sensitivity. Martin once stated, “My paintings have neither object nor space nor line nor anything—no forms. They are light, lightness, about merging, about formlessness, breaking down form.” The influence of artistic peers such as Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt and Donald Judd, as well as East Asian thought, contribute to her oeuvre, which could be thought of as a collection of spiritual messages. Martin’s writings, such as her poem “The Untroubled Mind,” which can be found at the end of the show’s amazing catalogue by Francis Morris and Tiffany Bell, reference William Blake, Taosim, Lao Tzu and Zen Buddhism, all of which contribute in some meaningful way to the “habits of her mind.” Themes of renunciation and longing for innocence dominate her work. Installation View: Agnes Martin, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, October 7, 2016– January 11, 2017. (Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation) Installation View: Agnes Martin, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, October 7, 2016– January 11, 2017. (Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation) The chronological survey evolves from the subtle, monochromatic, biomorphic compositions of the mid-1950s through crisp color fields in earth tones suggestive of shape or boundary at different scales, with a deliberate relationship to the edge of the painting. Martin’s move from Taos, New Mexico to New York City corresponds to a dramatic shift in her work defined by serialist expression using found objects which introduce repetition at a smaller scale in her work. These remarkable assemblages are dressed in the same palette as her paintings, which vacillate between the unbelievably cool or neutral and its notional, somewhat muted contrasts—ochre, purple, black—a dialogue perhaps between innocence and experience. Her titles, such as This Rain, The Garden, Beach, all reflect the painter’s conception of nature and solace in cycles, repetition, and solitude. Martin’s work of the early 1960s, such as White Flower, Little Sister, and Starlight bring her serialism back to the canvas in the form of an atmospheric code in which grids, dots, dashes, columns, and rows eventuate deconstructed fields, alternative constructions of her favorite geometric forms (triangles, circles, and lozenges), and new relationships based on a language of negative space, line weight, density, scale, tone and module. As her language continues to proliferate while the visitor travels up the ramps of the Guggenheim, the lines grow faint, condense into weathered stripes or color bars, expand, contract, disappear and reappear, gaining more texture in the process of forming a distressed system or spiritual text. Though the gallery is somewhat dark and it is at times difficult to identify with the rationality of the paintings and their respective, internal arrangements of lines, color, shapes and textures in the disconcerting context of ramps, the survey is stunningly mantric and will leave you feeling curiously wrought and unquestionably human. At once intense yet quiet, the show has “an immense presence” and “powerful energy that almost takes physical hold of the viewer”. Bell and Morris’ catalogue for the survey acts as a cipher for the moments of transition in Martin’s work and the continual questions she asks of us in terms of self-knowledge, perfection, pre-conditional states and the process of destiny. “Beauty is the mystery of life. It is not in the eye, it is in the mind.” —Agnes Martin The exhibition is on view through January 11, 2017.