(with an Appendix)
Two quotations: "Agnes Martin's channels of nuance, stretched on a rack of linear tensions which 'destroy the rectangle' are the legendary examples of an unrepetitive use of a repetitive medium." 1. Thus Lucy Lippard. Robert Pincus-Witten: "Eva Hesse's drawing during 1966‐ 68 emphasized modular and grid arrangements alluding, in this way, to the high regard in which Agnes Martin was held." 2. Martin's reputation is clearly stated here, both her status as legend and the interest of other artists. She ceased to paint in 1967 which did nothing to diminish her high if narrowly based reputation. An exhibition  at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (which will travel, slightly augmented, to the Pasadena Art Museum), is the first opportunity to see Martin's work extensively, beyond the scale of one-man shows which are restricted in time as well as in size.
The developmental changes within the uniform fields set up by Martin's grids are clear as never before. The first grids, of 1959-62, are marked by a tough, laconic handling of lines and points, often on bare brown canvas. The paintings of 1963-65 reveal an enrichment of color and a smoothing of the surface, as in Orange Grove and Falling Blue, an extension of range, but with no diminution of Martin's initial rigor. In the paintings of 1966-67 the surface is harder and the grids sharper, coinciding with a move from oil to acrylic paint. This eight‐ year progress is approximately from rough to rich to systematic, though the systems are there from the beginning and the touch is direct to the end. There is avowed variation in the earlier pieces, different emphases on the dots and dashes, as in Starlight, 1962, for example. In later paintings, such as The Cliff, 1966, regularity is maintained more strictly,____________________