Seven years as assistant, friend, and sometime adversary of the celebrated painter Agnes Martin are engagingly recalled in this illustrated memoir by photographer Donald Woodman.
Woodman's story is an enjoyably readable, pull-no-punches account of a period when Martin was close to few people--providing a picture of "missing" years in this important painter's life. One of the outstanding artists of the 20th century, Agnes Martin created ethereal abstractions while living almost as a hermit in New Mexico and issuing Zen-like pronouncements about her art. Photographer Donald Woodman, who shared her property (which he owned) and her life for seven rollercoaster years, takes us behind that legend in this affectionate and respectful, unvarnished and candid account to reveal an exasperating, troubled, earthy, but brave and determined painter. At the heart of the memoir is a surreal journey with Martin down Canada's Mackenzie River, toward the Arctic, which her "voices" instructed her to undertake. Illustrated by Woodman's photographs, this book adds a crucial dimension to the Martin story and is destined to become a small classic of art biography.
Agnes Martin is currently the subject of a traveling retrospective organized by Tate Modern, which travels to Germany and the US (LACMA and the Guggenheim) in 2016.
Donald Woodman, studied photography with Minor White at MIT. In 1972 he settled in New Mexico, where he worked at the Sacramento Peak Solar Observatory. In 1977 he met the reclusive painter Agnes Martin, beginning a seven-year association, sharing with her his property in Galisteo, New Mexico, and serving as her personal assistant. In 1985 Woodman married the renowned feminist artist Judy Chicago, with whom he has collaborated on many art and educational projects.