Painted late in her career, Agnes Martin’s Loving Love (1999) retains the geometric appearance of the artist’s mature work. However, with its two soft stripes in blue and white that bisect the monochromatic pale blue canvas, here Martin (1912–2004) distilled the horizontality present in many of her striped paintings of the preceding two decades. Though the square shape of the canvas itself mirrors that of her earlier paintings, Loving Love is smaller in scale, the result of a shift in Martin’s artistic practice. Beginning in the 1960s, and continuing for several decades, the artist worked in a 6-foot-square format. In 1992, she moved from Galisteo, New Mexico, to Taos, where she entered an assisted living facility. The following year, finding she was no longer able to turn her 6-foot-square canvases without assistance, Martin began painting in the 5-foot-square format in order to maintain seclusion in her working environment, which she preferred. Indeed, Loving Love’s subtle blue tones and faint graphite lines invite unhurried reflection, conveying a sense of solitude that is present throughout much of the artist’s work. Although of a more intimate scale, this canvas nevertheless preserves the expansive and serene quality of Martin’s earlier paintings.
female artistgeometricacrylic and graphite on canvas