View from the front door, looking in to the foyer
The impending October blizzard working its way up the coast may force Chelsea galleries to close early, but if not you have until the end of today, October 29, to see Agnes Martin, The 80’s: Grey Paintings at Pace Gallery on 25th Street.
I went to the opening on September 16 and foolishly didn’t take any pictures (the guards seemed somewhat more relaxed than usual). When I went back the following day to see the exhibition with fewer people around, the no-picture policy was firmly back in place. I’ve pulled a few images from the gallery website, which I’d urge you to visit.
Martin’s work has always been subtle, as you know. In these paintings her grays range from very light to very dark. The darkest paintings have their own room, all the better to see them in relation to one another, when the meditative rhythm of her horizontals and the variety of paint application becomes more apparent. Like opening your eyes in the dark, it takes a while for your vision to acclimate; the longer you look, the more you see.
Martin, whose centenary will be celebrated in 2012, has described her work as “memories of perfection.” They are also perfection expressed materially.
Three views of the installation from the Pace Gallery website
Above: This vangtage point is from the entrance. The space, especially when there were few people, felt meditative, something I don't normally feel in this venue. I don't think I was alone in this perception, as the sound level was hushed, even when the gallery was relatively full. Some of the work is glazed, which makes the subtleties hard to see.
Below: Continuing counterclockwise, we glimpse the back gallery
Below: A view of the back gallery with the dark gray paintings. While there's a tonal range, there seems to be very little chromatic range in the grays, with a fairly consistent degree of temperature, neither warm nor cool. I wonder if they are simply mixtures of black and white. The surfaces vary, however, from light washes to more assertive applications of paint