Blouin Artinfo | Agnes Martin’s “FOCUS” at Lévy Gorvy, London
February 14, 2019
Lévy Gorvy is pleased to present FOCUS: Agnes Martin, an exhibition that will place the artist’s sole completed film, Gabriel (1976), in conversation with an intimate selection of her abstract paintings. At 22 Old Bond Street, a screening room and adjoining gallery of paintings will create an immersive, meditative environment that will highlight the relationship between Martin’s work and her conception of joy. “I thought my movie was going to be about happiness,” Martin commented on the production of the film, “but when I saw it finished, it turned out to be about joy–the same thing my paintings are about.” The exhibition will mark the second of the FOCUS series, which encourages sustained contemplation of landmark artworks by artists rooted in the gallery’s programme, alongside related selections from their oeuvres.
Shot in colour and without a script, Gabriel loosely follows its titular subject, a fourteen-year-old boy, as he wanders through rural landscapes of New Mexico, California, and Colorado; Martin herself lived and worked in New Mexico during this period. Rejecting a linear storyline, the film presents a portrait of joy through fragmented visions of the landscape interspersed with detailed shots of wildflowers billowing in the wind and a foaming stream in perpetual movement. Martin’s choice of protagonist reflects her interest with innocence and the un-mediated, un-corrupted, un-modified experience of a young boy responding to the beauty of the natural world. This exhibition seeks to draw out the parallels between the unadulterated joy expressed in Gabriel and the sublime serenity of Martin’s classic geometric paintings from the mid to late 1960s. Inviting the viewer to revel in the deep serenity that radiates from Martin's canvases alongside the film's luminous expression of unadulterated elation, the exhibition promises not only an immersion in the experience of joy, but an exploration of the syntax of sensation, allowing the viewer to linger in the pensive calm that Martin’s art, regardless of its medium, so exquisitely conveys.
February 14, 2019
February 8, 2019