Agnes Martin’s 102nd birthday was celebrated with a Google doodle on Saturday, which paid tribute to her career as an abstract expressionist.
The image used various color cues from her work, including softer edges and muted colors that were then lined up in six bars to resemble each letter of Google.
Martin died in 2004 after living in New Mexico for over 35 years. She was originally born in Macklin, Saskatchewan, Canada, before she ended up gaining her degrees from Columbia University, and living in New York until 1967.
Once in New Mexico, Martin built her own house, an abode that she lived in for the rest of her life. She lived alone for all of her life, and it’s also believed that when she perished, at the age of 92, she hadn’t read a newspaper in over 50 years.
After she moved away from the East Coast Metropolis and “turned her back on the world,” it’s widely believed that Martin found her creative voice
Throughout her career, Martin either worked, or became friends with Betty Parsons, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Jack Youngerman, Ad Reinhardt, Barnett Newman, and Lenore Tawney.
Martin’s work was renowned because of her minimalist use of grid patterns, as well as soft colors. She is seen as a huge inspiration to the likes of Eva Hesse and Ellen Gallagher. Some of her pieces hang at the Whitney, the Hirshorn, the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.
Back in 2004, Earl A. Powell, the director of the National Gallery of Art, praised Martin, stating, “Agnes Martin’s work was minimally elegant and gives definition to those two words. Her work was subdued, quiet, serene and contemplative. She made a huge contribution to postwar art.”
Discussing her own work, Martin wrote, “Artwork is a representation of our devotion to life. The enormous pitfall is devotion to oneself instead of to life. All works that are self-devoted are absolutely ineffective.”
Wendy Beckett also paid tribute to Martin in her book American Masterpieces, writing, “Agnes Martin often speaks of joy; she sees it as the desired condition of all life. Who would disagree with her?… No-one who has seriously spent time before an Agnes Martin, letting its peace communicate itself, receiving its inexplicable and ineffable happiness, has ever been disappointed. The work awes, not just with its delicacy, but with its vigor, and this power and visual interest is something that has to be experienced.”
[Image via Google]