I just returned from a real celebration. I went all the way back to Taos in New Mexico, and gave a talk at the Harwood Museum (eek! but it went great!) about meeting Agnes Martin in 1995 and just how much of an impact that meeting has had on my work and my own personal journey.
It would have been Agnes Martin’s 100th birthday, so the Harwood threw a fun party at her favorite restaurant, and put on a series of events to celebrate her work, including film screenings, gallery tours and a symposium called Conversations with Agnes to coincide with the current exhibition “Agnes Martin: Before the Grid”. Agnes is also being celebrated this year as one of ‘The Remarkable Women of Taos’ in New Mexico’s own Centennial events.
For me, it was a personal celebration though because it was like closing a circle on work I started a long time ago and never really finished.
After the symposium, I gave the Harwood’s Agnes Martin archive a copy of the book I produced when doing my BA, “Agnes Martin: A Response, A Journey” which has been sitting on my bookshelf unread by anyone apart from myself for many years, (there’s also a copy in the University of Plymouth fine art library – who knows how many students will have looked at it?!).
I also gave them the recordings of the interviews I did during my research – with Agnes herself, with Barbara Haskell who curated the Whitney retrospective, and with Julia Peyton-Jones at the Serpentine Gallery in London, the exhibition where I first saw Agnes’ work and was literally moved to tears (of joy). It felt great to hand these things over to the archive though – it was liberating even!
I feel so much lighter now they’re not with me, but are out in the world.
Now maybe I can get on with some work of my own!
My trip was also a celebration because I got to spend all week hanging out with artists and other people who love talking about art. And we spent all week talking about art, thinking about art, looking at art and laughing about art. I’d forgotten what this feels like – and it feels good! Very good! Hence this blog post in fact – the first one for a whole year.
There was this person walking around Taos with a smile on her face most of the time, loving every minute and, omg, I realised that it was me! It took me a few days to catch up with myself. How strange and fascinating is that? How did that happen?
Time for some positive changes in how I’m spending my precious time on this planet, I think…
So, thank-you to the Harwood for getting me over the water and into a whole different state of mind and thank-you Agnes Martin for prompting once again a journey of discovery and bliss…
“Agnes Martin: Before the Grid” runs until 17th June 2012 at the Harwood Museum, New Mexico.