During the course of Thought for Food, I’ve been thinking about how we map ourselves and how we are mapped into the world. Pondering the connections and links that we make and establish, allowing feeling of steadiness, and stasis. Creating visual images, mapping a composition offers pauses for the eye, and with that comes security. As Agnes Martin says in the text The Untroubled Mind (a transcript of a 1972 interview) ,
This painting I like because you can get in there and rest.
In this roving, poetic stream of thoughts, Martin identifies nature as a hungry, active and demanding thing, whereas the painting of nature is something else, a gathering and bringing together of elements that bring peace, that we draw on as individuals. Martin infers that it is not only the artist that works from an untroubled mind, but that
People get what they need from a painting.
The viewer can acquire peace by looking at an artwork. Does the creation of a painting, a visual map, afford more comfort than an experiential understanding of place? A work that brings together moments of fleeting recognition and supposed knowledge might suggest a place of rest. Even with subtle shifts and turns, despite substitutions, visually mapping might bring us to a different place of understanding because of, or despite, what we know from the physical world, over what we see in a visual representation.
Agnes Martin, “The Untroubled Mind,” in Agnes Martin: Writings/Schriften, ed. Dieter Schwarz (Ostfildern: Cantz, 1991), p. 44.