Agnes Martin drew vertical and horizontal lines, sometimes intersecting, for forty years. All of her work follows the same simple process. After preparing the canvas with two coats of gesso, she drew faint lines using a measuring tape as a guide. Her lines are not straight. They waver slightly as her trembling hand made its way methodically across the canvas. She makes you look closely at how the ordered grid becomes disordered at the microscopic level.
Renaissance perspective, city streets and computer chips all rely on the grid. It promises precision and certainty, but Martin makes it organic. She thought of herself as an Abstract Expressionist because of the organic quality of her lines, although her work looks nothing like the wild brushstrokes of painters such as Jackson Pollock. She started working on grids in New York, but moved to New Mexico to live, literally, off the grid. Eventually she simplified the grid into vertical and horizontal lines exclusively.