# #throwback: Agnes Martin

Major throwback to the first week of Foundation 2D.

This was a group research that Caroline and I did during the first lesson of 2D. We chose and was assigned one of the many artists — Agnes Martin. This research is a hand-me-down information from the slides that we did. (So basically I’m just transferring the information here.)

Agnes Martin (1912 – 2004)

Martin was known as an American abstract painter, referred as a minimalist but considered herself an abstract expressionist. She turned to art around the age of 30, when she was a student at Columbia University in New York.

So when I typed “Agnes Martin artworks” at Google search, I was perplexed, surprised and couldn’t really believe what I was looking at! The picture above is one of the many artworks of Martin’s. Look at how simple her artworks are — geometrical shape, and just lines by pen and a ruler. At that point of time I was thinking to myself “WHAT? That means if I were to just draw a single line in pencil and tell people ‘This is my art piece’, I would be famous too?”

HA HA HA (Dream on Ummi)

That was definitely a complete puzzle to me and that was the first impression of Martin’s artworks. She has this signature style of hers where she uses squared monochrome canvas, layered with gesso, overlaid with hand-drawn pencil lines and thin layers of oil or acrylic paint.

(More examples of her pencil-ed lines below…)

Let me share Martin’s techniques used in her artworks. Firstly, pencil lines. As you can see from the above examples, you can tell that she is a mechanical person. She actually has hand-drawn horizontal, vertical or in grid formations across gesso canvas. She stretched string across the canvas and uses ruler to draw. Then, her line spacing was mathematically worked out on paper, then painted between to form solid bands.

Secondly, colour range in her artworks. Martin mainly uses the primary colours of red, blue and yellow, and of course the most basic colour of black and white. She customizes the colours by thinning, mixing, lightening and darkening them. Furthermore, with these colours, she actually creates ghostly effect of the colours by bleaching them out. That is why her coloured artworks has those neutral, gentle yet faded colours.

1974, Martin’s artworks eventually moved out from the ‘monochrome zone’ and became more human and involving by replacing neutral tones to brighter colours.

In general, Martin’s inspiration are mostly from nature and emotions. She always somehow connects her artworks with her emotions deep inside. Therefore, if you were to re-read the quote at the top of this post, you could see how much she would relate nature with emotions and then transferring those characters onto her canvas.

So what do I think of Agnes Martin?

Personally, I like simple stuff. I was impressed that her just a few lines could actually mean something so deep. I actually have this motto of “Less is More”, and I think Martin portrays that as well.

# Final (Process)

Here is a compilation of the time lapse clips I took throughout the journey of the Lines assignment!

Just like in design terms of “Form follow Function”, this assignment had the term of “Lines follow Emotions” where we had to mix and match the different abstract lines we have to the following emotions.

When I was trying to sort out the lines to go with which emotion, I was mostly stuck on how one actually see the lines as nonsensical for example. However, I decided to just go with my own interpretation of how each line represents the emotions.

With all these strips, it was then compiled and sorted out to their windows… (see below)

# Hard copy journal to….OSS.

“A Line is a dot that went for a walk.”

Throughout the assignment, I made full use of the layout pad to compile everything I have done into the hard copy journal. It consists of doodling, inspiration images I captured, the different experimentation of automatic techniques, and personal reflection based on research and consultation.

The line definitely went for a walk last Friday during submission and it’s not coming back anytime soon.

# Another round of trials

I always have these ideas at the back of my mind when I have some “me time”, so I decided to have another session of self monoprinting at my balcony.

So I decided to try several techniques, as attached in the set of pictures above:

• Top set contains the techniques of Decalcomania
• Middle set contains mixture of inspired Jackson Pollock splattering of paint technique, standard monoprint, and the dripping of paint/ink technique.
• Last set contains inspired Mehndi or Henna art (4th and 5th from the left), inspired Art Attack technique of painting over dried glue (first 3 from left) but it failed when the glue flattens as it dries up, and, technique somewhat similar to Sand Painting except the minus off the glue and the sand and replacing it with just baby powder.

*Just some reflections*

I had this thought to myself whereby I feel that most of the time when I do these monoprints and automatism techniques, my mind would be completely blank. Sometimes during the monoprint sessions, I would just loose myself into whatever I was doing, using whatever resources and not actually thinking what I want to achieve in the printing. For example, putting this and that on the mat. Or when trying out the Rorschach tests, I don’t try to draw anything in particular, I just spam inks here and there and that’s what I get.

On the other hand, while trying out the Jackson Pollock technique, I was splattering the ink while I was feeling rather upset, and as I splat more inks, the emotions followed and I actually felt better when I was done.

Definitely so, art is therapeutic!

Another quick video before you leave!

# Artist in the making: Dzaki Safaruan

Follow up from the couple of previous post from when we were to post about a favourite artist or somewhat, I picked a 26 year old local Singaporean, Dzaki Safaruan.

If one were to google him online, there is nothing much to find as he is not as famous as Ed Moses or the other artists that we know of from this assignment. But maybe I’ll just introduce him with what I know.

Dzaki Safaruan is a cousin of mine who recently graduated from NAFA for his Degree in Fine Arts. He has this “thing” for art since his secondary school times(?) and decided to pursue his love and passion for art right after. One thing for sure, he always has a sketchbook with him. Sometimes it would be as big as A4 size, and sometimes it would be the pocket sized sketchbook.

I have a few of his art works that you could look at and be as amazed as I am.

His works are amazing, with all the precision lines and details. Recently he gave me an advice and ideas on how I could make my monoprint exciting from his experience. I tried one and its result:

P/S: You can find out more on his work on FacebookWebstagram and/or Instagram!

# Process video

Come and watch a short process video!

The link above shows the time-lapse video of the monoprinting process did by Gek Luan and myself last week. We decided “Why not do this for documentation purposes? It’ll be fun!” And so we did.

If you’ve watched the video, you’d experience watching the camera going down down down then it stops… Now, we could interpret this as the camera bowing and thanking you for watching the process of our mini monoprinting session.

THANKS FOR WATCHING!

# Monoprint Progress

This is just a progress post whereby these images at the top are the monoprinted sheets that I did last night. I thought why not just have extras ready before we do the cutting and collaging this coming lesson. I like to be prepared to have back ups if a few were to fail (of course, i am praying hard and hoping it would not happen!) or this and that doesn’t fit together and stuffs like that.

# Monoprint

Recently, both Gek Luan (Gekkie) and I did some self monoprinting at home. We set up a mini workshop along my corridor and did as much as we could to add on to our stacks.

*This idea of hanging the wet monoprinted papers was from my beloved Mum as a mode to dry them and for easy access of walking to and fro the balcony without damaging the papers/artworks*

# Artist in the making

An artist in the making, Dzaki Safaruan, who loves printmaking.

I am always mesmerised with his detailed drawings with his comic and traditional art.