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September 2, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Exhibition on view September 2 – October 2, 2022.
One of the West’s leading public artists, Karen Yank has formulated and fabricated sculpture for outdoor sites throughout the Mountain states and beyond. Yank is known for a rigorous geometric style normally dependent on the form of the circle.
The fascination with circular forms began when Yank met Agnes Martin 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.
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 has 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.”