Formal minimalism accompanied by conceptual and perceptual richness unite the two artists, forty-year old Japanese-born Hiroshi Sugimoto and Agnes Martin, a Canadian/American woman over twice his age. Both Sugimoto and Martin use basic forms – the square, rectangle, and line – in a reiterated motif, infinitely varied, to draw the viewer’s attention to their own perceptions, to heighten one’s sense of themselves seeing. Sugimoto’s photographs of sea and sky have been called visual approximation of the infinite. Martin’s pictures, delicate pencil and watercolor, have been described as an attempt to depict the undepictable, to see the unseeable, to feel the unfeelable. What Martin says of her own work could be equally applied to Sugimoto’s photographs, “I want to draw a certain response…not a specific response but that quality of response from people when they leave themselves behind, often experienced in nature – an experience of simple joy…the simple, direct going into a field of vision as you would cross an empty beach to look at the ocean.”
Hiroshi Sugimoto has lived and worked both in New York City and Tokyo since 1974. He has received numerous awards including a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A retrospective of his work was recently seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Agnes Martin’s first solo exhibition was at the Betty Parsons Gallery, New York in 1958. Since that time she has exhibited in major museums and galleries around the world, including a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1992. Martin lives in New Mexico.