Agnes Martin

Posted: January 31, 2019 at 2:51 pm

“Summer”, Agnes Martin, 1964

“Untitled #2”, Agnes Martin, 1992

It has been a while since I got back to my research on colour field painters. Martin is one of the very few women in the field who gained prominence and provides a good precedent for the grid and a systematic (but not rigidly so) compositional process.

Like other painters in the field, Martin aims for a “pursuit of the essential” (Claudine Humblet, The New American Abstraction (1950–1970)). Martin’s lack of rigidity in the system is manifest in slight variations in her composition, for example the position of the dots in the “Summer” above. This is described as a “constant vibration” (Ibid.) and is “…far removed from the ‘impersonality’ once hoped for from geometric form.” (Ibid.) Martin’s emphasis on perception, where the viewer  completes the work, is consistent with other painters focused on perception: “The observer makes the painting.” (Martin quoted by Claudine Humblet, The New American Abstraction (1950–1970)) This again connects very well with the Zombie Formalist that is an empty mechanism with no intention whose random actions are given value and meaning through the attention of the viewer.


Meeting #3

Posted: January 25, 2019 at 7:35 pm

I keep hoping to keep up with my reading and reflections for this project and I am not succeeding. I’m spending most of my time just catching up, rather than reading what I’ve already flagged as interesting and considering what has already been discussed. Unfortunately this post will not be any different; it’s a quick description of the last meeting and some quick notes of things to go back to.

The third meeting was a focus on artistic practise, so Karen, Robin and I talked a bit about our practises and I was struck by some very interesting intersections between Robin and I that seemed to resonate significantly with Sarah and Karen. Following are the notes taken by Robin during the meeting; I’ll provide some keywords below. (more…)


Meeting #2

Posted: January 10, 2019 at 3:42 pm

I did not get a chance to write a post about our second meeting, so I’m doing so now before our third meeting! During the second meeting we were introduced to team member Dr. Seven J. Barnes (who also served on my PhD committee). I thought I would look through my notes and list interesting terms, phrases and concepts that came up in the second meeting:

  • Primordial Soup
  • Consciousness as emergent property
  • Magnetic Frustration: Inability to find the most favourable alignment of spins
    • Does this mean the macro structure is and difficult to predict from the micro structure? Equal probability of being in different states?
    • What does frustration mean in terms of dynamics over time?
  • Spin Glass used to model dynamics in biological neural networks.
    • Spin Glass seems very interesting in itself, and I’m still left a little lost in the dynamics. Is the state of spin static in spin glass as long as temperature is steady? What happens in the phase transitions of spin glass? (Is a spin glass a transitional state of a ferromagnet?)
  • Perturbation
  • Phase-transition
  • Nucleation
  • What is the grand theory in Condensed Matter Physics?
  • Skyrmion
  • Metastability
    • Metaplasticity in learning systems?
  • (spooky?) Action at a distance.

I also wrote down a few ideas for possible “subtopics” in emergence:

  • Metastability / Metaplasticity
  • Organic vs Inorganic
  • Decay
  • Entropy
  • Disspitation
  • Life

Goethe Institut: At the threshold of a new era (Winter 2018)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and artistic creation: Fantasising about the loss of control. Nathalie Bachand, Goethe-Institut Montreal. Winter, 2018.