Segments in this Video

Creative Process (01:47)


Agnes Martin says she is happiest in solitude and paints in response to sudden emotions.

Preparing Canvasses (02:29)

Martin decreased her canvas size to make her work more manageable as she grew older. She works alone in her studio.

Starting a Painting (03:08)

Martin receives inspiration as a mental visualization. She calculates horizontal band dimensions before transposing them onto the canvas. View works.

Memory (04:02)

Martin recalls her birth, her Saskatchewan childhood, and her mother's disciplinary attitude. She enjoyed spending time in the Vancouver wilderness.

Innocence (03:31)

Martin describes the Taos artistic community. She found her work unsatisfactory, even when it was shown in New York. She discusses a canvas in the MOMA's permanent collection.

New York Years (03:51)

Martin describes her studio and the Coenties Slip artistic community and discusses her friendship with Ellsworth Kelly.

Return to the Southwest (01:46)

Martin left New York for New Mexico. She built an adobe studio and began painting.

"Gabriel" Project (02:45)

Martin describes making a film about happiness and natural beauty in protest of commercial cinema.

Solitude (02:34)

Martin feels fortunate to spend time alone, and sees it as enlightening and necessary for the artistic process.

Geometry (03:05)

Martin explains why she paints abstract horizontal planes. She discusses the emotions they evoke and compares squares to rectangles in terms of meaning.

Painting outside Nature (02:43)

The environment has no impact on Martin's work. It took her twenty years to develop an abstract style; view geometric works.

Minimalism (03:28)

Martin recalls showing with minimalist painters and clarifies that she is an abstract expressionist. She credits abstract expressionists with revolutionizing space and form.

Empty Mind (02:15)

Martin rejected intellectual deduction for meditation to allow inspiration into her mind.

Inspiration (03:22)

Martin receives inspiration by rejecting ambition and maintaining a peaceful attitude.

"Happiness" Paintings (02:01)

Martin describes a series of works featuring exciting brushstrokes.

Resting the Mind (04:10)

Martin works on a canvas and describes her meditation technique. She lives by inspiration, rather than by intellect.

Spirituality (04:36)

Martin discusses beauty as a representation of perfection in life. She rejects being labeled a mystic.

Happiness Philosophy (04:21)

Martin discusses illustrating abstract emotion; her theme for the past decade. She embraces positivity and investigates her mistakes.

Credits: Agnes Martin: With My Back to the World (00:48)

Credits: Agnes Martin: With My Back to the World

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Agnes Martin: With My Back to the World

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Internationally renowned painter Agnes Martin was designated by ARTnews Magazine as one of the world's top-ten living artists. This documentary was shot over a period of four years, from 1998 through 2002, Martin's ninetieth year. Interviews with the artist are inter-cut with shots at her studio in Taos, New Mexico, with photographs and archival footage, and with images of her work from over five decades. Martin speaks about her work, her working methods, her life as an artist, and her views about the creative process. She also discusses her film, Gabriel and reads from her poetry and lectures.

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL60610

ISBN: 978-1-60057-616-4

Copyright date: ©2002

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

Doku Arts, Berlin, 2012 Festival dei Popoli, Firenze, 2007 Big Sky Documentary Festival, 2006 International Festival of Films on Art, Montreal, 2003 Santa Fe Film Festival, 2002 Festival Artecinema, Napoli, 2003 Silver City Film Festival, 2003

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.