Agnes Martin

“I would like to talk about the perfection underlying life
when the mind is covered over with perfection
and the heart is filled with delight
but I wish not to deny the rest.
In our minds, there is an awareness of perfection;
when we look with our eyes we see it,
and how it functions is mysterious to us and unavailable.
When we live our lives it’s something like a race—our minds
become concerned and covered over and we get depressed and
have to get away for a holiday.
And then sometimes there are moments of perfection
and in these moments we wonder why we ever thought life
was difficult.
We think that at last our feet are on the right path and that we
will not falter or fail.
We’re absolutely convinced we have the solution and then the
moment is over.
Moments of awareness are not complete awareness,
just as moments of blindness are not completely blind.
In moments of blindness when you meet someone you know
they seem hardly recognizable,
and one seems even a stranger to oneself.
These experiences of the mind are too quickly passed over
and forgotten,
although startling moments of awareness are never forgotten.
Seeking awareness of perfection in the mind is called
living the inner life.
It is not necessary for artists to live the inner life.
It is only necessary for them to recognize inspiration or represent it.
Our representations of inspiration are far from perfect
for perfection is unobtainable and unattainable.
Moments of awareness of perfection and of inspiration are alike
except that inspirations are often directives to action.
Many people think that if they are attuned to fate, all their
inspirations will lead them toward what they want and need.
But inspiration is really just the guide to the next thing
and may be what we call success or failure.
The bad paintings have to be painted…”

—Agnes Martin in Artforum (April 1973)