Writings

Agnes Martin

There is in reality no need for self-sacrifice and no call for it. Do not settle for the experience of others. If you follow others you are in reality at a standstill, because their experience is in the past. That is circling. Even following your own past experience, is circling. Know your own response to your own work and to the work of others.

Agnes Martin’s collection of letters, journals, and lectures seems hopelessly out of print, which is a shame since it is a beautiful perspective on art and process. Themes of imperfection and the misguided importance of inspiration are prevalent throughout. She has a simply yet startling deep manner of writing, which feels appropriate in the context of her visual work. I can’t understand how a publisher hasn’t picked up this up to reprint, but PDFs are not too hard to find online.

Inspiration is pervasive but not a power.
It’s a peaceful thing.

Do not think that it is unique.
If it were unique no one would be able to respond to your work.
Do not think it is reserved for a few or anything like that.
It is an untroubled mind.
Of course we know that an untroubled state of mind cannot last. So we say that inspiration comes and goes but really it is there all the time waiting for us to be untroubled again. We can therefore say that it is pervasive. Young children are more untroubled than adults and have many more inspirations. All the moments of inspiration added together make what we call sensibility.