viii 20

Agnes Martin

Quotes and screenshots from With My Back to the World (2007), Mary Lance’s beautiful documentary on artist Agnes Martin (1912-2004):


You just can’t be an artist if you can’t be alone.


Beethoven composes music about, well, an experience I guess.

It has meaning, Beethoven’s music.

Lots of painters paint about painting, but my painting is about meaning.


I’m not a minimalist, I’m an abstract expressionist. I believe in having my emotions recorded in the painting.


There’s two parts of the mind. The intellect. The servant of ego. It does all the conquering and all that. The intellect is a struggle with facts.

Nothing could be more different than Pollock and Rothko but they believed the same.

I gave up facts entirely in order to have an empty mind.

I never have ideas myself. I’m very careful not to have ideas, because they’re inaccurate.


You just have to want it. You have to really want it. And then anything can happen.


I think all aggressive behaviour is wrong.

I’m absolutely convinced that with a soft attitude you receive more.


I paint about happiness every once in a while.


“Could you talk a little bit more about tranquillity? You were talking about it before.”

“I think I better paint.”



Just look around for the truth. Be in the mind for the truth. It’s a happy state of mind.


Some people live by inspiration. Most people live by facts, they decide what’s best. Inspiration’s much better.

Most people that live by inspiration, you can tell who they are, because they say I’ll have to sleep on it.


Beauty is the mystery of life.

Perfection is easier to see than beauty.

You look at the sky and it’s perfect. And you look closer and it’s beautiful.

Beauty illustrates happiness.


The wind in the grass: you know how happy the grass looks.


There are an infinite number of different kinds of happiness.


I’m interested in illustrating abstract emotions like love and happiness. 


I’m just going forward.