John Pawson pays homage to Agnes Martin's grids
The minimalist architect references Martin’s famous Sixties grid paintings in these recently posted images
We can’t all swap the big city for splendid isolation in quite the same way as the sublime abstract artist Agnes Martin did back in 1967, when she packed up her Airstream trailer, and left Manhattan for New Mexico.
However, over the summer, a few of us have been lucky enough to switch off just enough to experience just a sliver of the sublime simplicity she captured in her works.
John Pawson took these shots in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and posted them with a quote from an 1989 interview with Agnes Martin, in which she says “When I first made a grid, I happened to be thinking of the innocence of trees.”
Those grids, which Martin developed between 1960 and '67 in New York before heading to New Mexico, are an important part of the artist’s work.
“With the development of the grid, she fulfilled her mission to create paintings at once devoid of intellectual content and simultaneously about something,” writes her friend and gallerist Arne Glimcher in our book. “Emptied of all other visual incidents, of Cubist space and brushwork, the paintings address finer layers of perception and extend awareness.”
That’s not an entirely accurate description of Pawson’s shots, though Pawson – an architectural minimalist and a great photographer – certainly appreciates the bare geometry of Martin’s pictures, he sees them in the branches of a pine and the tiles bordering a swimming pool.
For more of Agnes Martin’s work, order a copy of her book here; for more of John’s photographs get Spectrum his latest book of photographs aranged by colour.