I went to DIA to see Agnes Martin

the light is perfect, the space is seductive on its own
the perfect place for a chapel of minimalism

I walked through Serra
Sol LeWitt
and Smithson
and Richter
and Bueys
and and and

I saved Agnes for nearly last.

Several years ago I came here and fell in love. Her surfaces are subtle, but rich. Grids, but the making is so present, so careful, and human. Seeing her work in pictures is difficult -like trying to see someone's fingerprint in a snapshot of them waving goodbye.
Agnes Martin
Morning (1965)
Acrylic paint and graphite on canvas
So I sat with her awhile.

and headed for the exit when I learned I had really come to fall for Robert Ryman. Even more subtle, more quiet, and more difficult to find in pictures.
Robert Ryman
Versions I (1992)
91 x 84 inches, oil and graphite pencil on fiberglass with waxed paper, staples, and nails
Collection of SFMOMA

It was startling to see how his work is often hung with just masking tape, almost provisionally, it's all very much based in the material and ever so quiet. Some of the other minimalists feel like they are so much about exerting power and machismo. These are powerful, but not overtly so. The ones that were the most effective to me seemed as if they were still growing.
Completed, but not executed.
and playful too . . .
There's a sense Ryman takes joy in making these things, as if they are a kind of game.

p.s. Sol LeWitt had a collaborator at DIA.

Sol LeWeb

1 comment:

Seth said...

Gorgeous work. And having seen some in person, I agree with that the beauty and power in her pieces is harder to detect online.


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