Our new jewellery collection The Grid is based around the pure form of the grid pattern. Partly inspired by the great artist Agnes Martin.
Martin has long been a hero of mine. I discovered her when I first went to art school. As a young female artist I was captivated with what I saw as a calmness, harmony and femininity within her work. Her minimalism has an openness within it's geometry, not often found in the works of her male contemporaries. Her friend the art dealer Arne Glimcher likened experiencing her works to “breathing in air."
Martin edits the world down to the simplest forms, symmetry & geometry. But rather than dehumanising it with this approach, you never lose the sense of a human hand making these marks, of a human mind seeking pattern in the chaos.
Though grand, her grid paintings in particular were created from small repetitive gestures and simple methods. They required a painstaking and labour-intensive process that, for her, emphasised the importance of humility and modesty. These lines appear straight and sharp from a distance, close up one can see how the pencil veered off course when it encountered irregularities on the surface of the canvas.
"When I first made a grid I happened to be thinking of the innocence of trees and then this grid came into my mind and I thought it represented innocence, and I still do, and so I painted it and then I was satisfied. I thought, this is my vision" Agnes Martin
"Art work that is completely abstract—free from any expression of the environment is like music and can be responded to in the same way. Our response to line and tone and colour is the same as our response to sounds. . . . It holds meaning for us that is beyond expression in words". Agnes Martin
Martin’s paintings have been compared to spiritual experiences, but she insisted her works are not spiritual. She wanted people to become aware of the perfection, beauty, and joy in the world around them. Like several other artists working in the 1950s and ’60s, she was influenced by Taoism and its message of eliminating desire and renouncing egotism. Martin didn't seek the spotlight that artists of her time began to benefit from. Instead, she lived simply and worked hard. She died at the age of ninety-two in 2004.