I’ve repeatedly failed at making art, but my critical interest in Martin has only deepened. I observe in much of her work (not just the black paintings) a tense, disquieting affect, detailed in this review (2009). Through archival research, I discovered that before her major 1973 retrospective at ICA Philadelphia, responses to Martin’s work were far more ambivalent than those that came after. Reviewers, collectors and curators mention anxiety, exhaustion, confusion and even laughter in the face of her paintings – not the contemplative calm we associate with them now. I’m asking why that was.
Jane Boyer interviewed me for my Concept Plus Object writing residency, 1 July, 2012.