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Agnes Martin (1912 - 2004)

Agnes Martin is one of America’s foremost abstract painters, with a career that spanned nearly five decades. Her earliest works from the 1960s are characterised by large, grid-based compositions.

Later, Martin reduced the scale of her square canvases and shifted her work to use bands of ethereal colour. These works move between a preoccupation with ordered geometry and the irregularity created by hand-drawn pencil lines. Martin viewed this contrast between the regularity of geometry and deliberate inconsistency of the artist's hand as analogous to the human condition.

Although her work is about perfection, she explained, "the paintings are very far from perfect – completely removed in fact – even as we ourselves are". The three paintings from Martin’s later career held in the ARTIST ROOMS collection exemplify her exquisite handling of paint. The delicate colours appear to project beyond the picture plane. While her early paintings were untitled, Happy Holiday and Faraway Love come from a sequence of paintings from the late 1990s in which the artist used titles to evoke states of euphoria, contentment and memories of past happiness.