September 21 – October 15, 2018
Opening Reception Friday, September 21, 5-7pm
This exhibition is extremely significant and personal. Simultaneous with an upcoming book project on Agnes Martin’s artistic and life philosophy, titled Travels with Agnes, Yank and Turner Carroll present an exhibition that reveals visual relationships between one of New Mexico’s most well-known contemporary artists—Agnes Martin, and the student she mentored for the last 17 years of her life—New Mexico sculptor Karen Yank.
Agnes and Karen met in 1987 at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, in Maine. They met at a critical time in both of their lives. Yank had just graduated from art school, beginning her artistic career. Martin was at the end of her teaching career, and chose Yank as the human receptacle for her philosophies about art and living. She regarded Karen Yank as her “true student” on a profound philosophical level. As in John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, Martin had taken off in her truck, driving all over the U.S., ultimately choosing New Mexico as her home. Yank had chosen New Mexico as home, as well. Martin and Yank continued their close friend and mentor relationship after their return from Skowhegan to New Mexico, for the remainder of Agnes Martin’s life.
Martin unabashedly advised Yank on her sculptural works. She reminded Yank that “we are unfolding flowers. We need to listen to life and let life tell us what is next, relinquishing control and opening ourselves to true inspiration.” In the early years of Yank’s career as an artist, Martin rejected the circle as “too expansive” because Martin, herself, had not been drawn to it as a vehicle for her own inspiration. One of the greatest insights in both Martin’s and Yank’s artistic development was Martin’s response to Yank’s circular, banded discs, created from steel in the late 1990s. Martin amazed both Yank and herself by declaring these circular shapes “Yank’s vision and her mature voice” in her art. Martin said the circle was an obviously good choice for Yank and not for her, because Yank’s use of metal made the circular works more object oriented than illusional. The expansiveness of the circular shaped sculptures helped reverse their object-ness and enable the viewer to enter into the various planes and energetic fields of the works.
Agnes Martin also shared much of her wisdom about how an artist could best conduct daily life. She pointed out to Yank some decisions she had made in her life that she later regretted. Some of the decisions Martin regretted are surprising, like her famous choice to cut herself off from society and live an isolated, solitary life. She encouraged Yank to fully engage, only pulling back from the outside world when she was deeply inspired to create her work, and then to partake again in the social life.
Toward the end of Agnes Martin’s life, she asked Yank to keep Martin’s artistic philosophies alive by conveying her teachings to younger artists. She believed Yank could continue her admonitions to younger artists to remain true to their artistic convictions and allow themselves to mature and unfold. She believed artists have to find meditative purity in their artistic practice, to achieve the peace and solid framework for their works. Martin wanted Yank to teach young artists generously, as she had taught Yank, as she grew from young to senior artist.
Yank has let Martin’s teachings ruminate in her mind since Martin’s death over a decade ago. She seen other books emerge about Martin, and she sees that Martin’s teachings have not yet emerged. She now feels like it’s not her choice, but her duty to her friend and mentor, to preserve Martin’s philosophies of art and life so other artists can benefit from her as she did.
Over the 17 years Martin and Yank spent together, Martin taught Yank to notice the small details of life, and to strive for contentment in every moment. “In my life Agnes and I had a unique relationship. May she live on through her paintings, her teachings, and those who truly understand her genius.”
Work in the exhibition may be viewed here.
For more information and high resolution images, please visit https://www.turnercarrollgallery.com/press-area/ or email@example.com
In a civilization where more than 51% of the population is female, yet 96% of exhibition space is given to men, it’s time for a change. In honor of National Women’s History Month and in celebration of uniquely brilliant female perspective, Turner Carroll features important women artists all month. Artists include an international roster including Nina Tichava, Raphaelle Goethals, Hung Liu, Squeak Carnwath, Karen Yank, Jamie Brunson, Mavis McClure, Jenny Abell, Suzanne Sbarge, Holly Roberts, and Brenda Zappitell.
Opening Reception Friday, March 10, 2017 from 5 to 7pm
[n.b. that this event takes place in Santa Fe]
Agnes Martin once told Karen Yank that the “circle is too expansive” as an art form. Karen later said it was perfect shape for her, because she could control it; because she understood its implications. In the same way Drew Tal uses the gaze on the circle of the face and the eyes to make a comparison of universal features.
Opening Reception Friday, July 22, 2016 from 5 to 7pm
[n.b. that this event takes place in Santa Fe]
Circumspection implies considering your actions carefully before moving forward. Such is the case with both American artist Karen Yank, and Israeli artist, Drew Tal. Yank was awarded a prestigious art award to study at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in New York, in 1987. Her teacher was the celebrated–if reclusive–New Mexico minimalist artist, Agnes Martin. Yank relocated with her family to New Mexico, where she still lives today. Her friendship with Agnes Martin would continue for two decades, until Martin’s death in 2004.
Agnes Martin often told Yank she was her only “real” student. She passed on her opinions about artistic process and philosophy to Yank. While Martin is well known for her grid drawings and line paintings, Yank sought a different shape. Martin’s horizontal line was reminiscent of the distant New Mexican horizon line, uninterrupted by natural form. Yank, however, saw the circle as the most perfect shape for her sculpture. From earliest civilization, the circle has represented the life-giving force of the sun; eternity; fertility, divinity. Yank created a large body of work using the circle, often with referencing Martin in her use of the line within her circles, as is evident in her piece called “Thrice” as well as in her “XO” series.
For Drew Tal, his environment produced circumspection, as he states, “Growing up in Israel in the ’60’s, was a blessing for me. At that time in history the young state was a true melting pot for millions of immigrants from all around the globe. Surrounded with such a colorful collage of ethnicities, languages, nationalities, cultures and religions made me realize from an early age that the world beyond me was a rich and complex place. This revelation opened my eyes to the exotic, and made me extremely curious about people and their religions, customs, costumes and histories.”
While Israel has experienced much political strife during Tal’s lifetime, he regards each human being as equally sacred, regardless of ethnicity or religion.
Located at the Fashion Industry Gallery, adjacent to the Dallas Museum of Art in the revitalized downtown arts district. Featuring new works by gallery artists Fausto Fernandez, Hung Liu, Squeak Carnwath, Drew Tal, Jamie Brunson, Rusty Scruby, Edward Lentsch, Wanxin Zhang, Suzanne Sbarge, Karen Yank, Scott Greene, Holly Roberts, and more! Fair hours are Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16 respectively, from 11am to 7pm, and Sunday, April 17 from 12pm to 6pm, with an opening preview gala Thursday, April 14.
A link to the Dallas Art Fair is here.