online: 2 october 2015
modified: 2 october 2015

2 october 2015 the joy of engineering and straight lines a quiet spot inside a power station become art gallery... reached by bus, rail and riverside walk... and through two railway stations built on high embankments and bridges accessible by lifts... all of which beneath clear sky reminiscent of an imagined heaven... pale blue and pink in dusk... and traversed by five-coach trains shooting by at unearthly speed as they carry people calmly reading free newspapers in draughtless interiors from workplace to suburb... or vice versa... etc etc... as i equally move out from daytime cave to late opening gallery of synthetic sights (lit by electric light) of so-called pictures of reality re-seen tonight through Agnes Martin's eyes and brain reshaped by a life as pioneer of new ways of seeing...

...but... as i pause before entering to celebrate that joy of engineering... that right-or-wrongly enables each of us to move at high velocity (or at frequent intervals of total stoppages or waits... scheduled or accidental)... i pause to re-read these words and to adjust them to my sense of seemliness.. or right and wrong... while remembering these sights and sensations of a collective engineering art that seems greater than that of individuals... which i feel my grasp of words is failing to describe this joy that i hesitate to describe as wonder... what word suffices?... not art... not automatic... perhaps it's simply 'order'... all is order... perceived or not... but perhaps beyond the order of our thoughts... even those of Agnes Martin...

...after seeing the exhibition:

of which i most remember is the apparent sameness except in close-up when slight variations of lines of pencil and of thin colour laid on in steady downward strokes of an evenness that allows the whole painting to be detached from message or association... as if sublime... sought with the joy of hard determination to be more perfect even than she achieves (often after discarding or destroying several versions)... in openness of art and thought and beauty of straight lines and regularity... (not far from what is best in engineering)

Agnes Martin, Tate Modern Gallery, London, 24 June to 25 October 2015. ...


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