I recently went to NYC for a trip sponsored by Wilsonart, a laminate company I often specify on my architectural projects. I deferred my flight back so I could do what I always do in New York, exhaust myself in art galleries and museums. Little did I know that when I agreed to go there would be a retrospective of my all-time favorite artist at my all-time favorite museum, Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim.
Although I am about to throw words at the experience, it is in some ways beyond language. It evokes silence and it is impossible to photograph. I wrote in my notes that it was like trying to photograph pure spirit. But I must try to relate the experience as it was a personal best; a transcendent experience beyond time and place, beyond fear and worry. A few random thoughts while meditating on The Islands: There is a white whiter, Gradual revelations, Silent vocabulary of the soul, Low vibrations, Small accumulations generate grand moments, Wabi Sabi, Imperfect repetition...
It was also physiologically extraordinary. There were moments when the paintings seem to expand and grow off the wall reaching out to me. And I don't mean metaphorically, I mean they literally visually seemed to expand toward me. They seemed alive, breathing and waiting for the slow and close viewing to complete their wholeness.
These pieces are so easily misunderstood as nothing, but viewed patiently actually seem to contain the most magnificent calm. Or maybe they are a lighting rod that pulls the feeling of quiet bliss contained within us. In a time of social media saturation and vapid sound bites, fear-mongering and rampant racism; this exhibit is suave for the collective harried soul.