Dear Agnes


“My interest is in experience that is wordless and silent, and in the fact that this experience can be expressed for me in art work which is also wordless and silent.” -Agnes Martin

How does one respond to the ineffable? Dear Agnes is a collection of daily silent letter/drawings in response Agnes Martin’s work. (October 2010-ongoing)

“As a further extension of her interest in minimalism, lines and the grid, Tammi Campbell maintains a daily drawing practice that directly references the work of Agnes Martin, a progenitor of abstraction in Canada. Campbell’s Dear Agnes series of linear graphite drawings on cream paper derive their form from Martin’s On A Clear Day, a suite of 30 serigraph prints from 1973. Martin’s restrained vocabulary of horizontal and vertical lines suggests endless permutations, where subtle variations in the intensity of the lines or the configuration of the grid yield surprisingly diverse results.

Campbell’s drawings, which she began in 2010, continue this legacy in an ongoing silent dialogue with Martin, and have been drafted skillfully and meticulously with the same adept hand as her paintings. The younger artist creates one Dear Agnes drawing per day, each day that she is in the studio.

Concerned more with the act of drawing than the result itself, this daily ritual sets the tone for Campbell’s working day, and could be seen as a way of channeling the artistic legacy with which she enters in dialogue within her other creative processes. Her practice speaks to the type of work being made by a younger generation of Canadian artists that engages with the history of modernism from a very contemporary perspective, one that insists on continuing a discourse with artists that have come before them, while offering a fresh take on concerns of the 1950s and 1960s” —Rhiannon Vogl, curator, National Gallery of Canada

Notes: To date Campbell has completed over 1,000 drawings in the series.