Agnes Martin: Five Decades will present ten paintings by Agnes Martin dating from 1958 to 1999. The work assembled here, created over five decades, will trace Martin’s formal development from the early "figurative" works of the late 50s and early 60s, through the grid format of the 60s and 70s, to the expansive bands of color emerging in the 1990s. This group of paintings will illuminate the evolution of her line and palette, as well as shed light on the central theme and preoccupation of her work over 50 years, namely the pursuit of perfection, happiness and beauty.
Throughout the 1950s, Martin struggled with the task of making a painting that was able to speak the language of the inner mind, a metaphysical place where she felt the beauty and perfection of the external world resided as absolute ideas. Stemming from concepts found in Taoism and Zen Buddhism that gained popularity in the United States in the 1950s, Martin set out to find a visual form for the immaterial world of the mind, a space where the fleeting presence of perfection and beauty of the natural world was eternal. For Martin, beauty and perfection transcend the natural world, and, therefore, the painting acted as a vehicle to recapture the experience of the sublime.