Agnes Martin & Karen Yank: Meditations on Mentor and Student

Karen Yank, Clarity and Agnes Martin, Untitled


Agnes Martin & Karen Yank: Meditations on Mentor and Student
Bunny Conlon Modern & Contemporary Art Gallery, University Art Museum
June 22-September 16, 2023
Opening: June 22, 2023, 5:30-7:30 pm

The University Art Museum at NMSU is delighted to present Agnes Martin & Karen Yank: Meditations on Mentor and Student in the Bunny Conlon Modern & Contemporary Art Gallery, June 22 to September 16, 2023. 

Meditations on Mentor and Student is an exhibition exploring the work and intersecting lives of artists Agnes Martin and Karen Yank. Featured in this exhibition are Martin’s lithographs on vellum, whose complex and meditative grids are indicative of the renowned artist’s style which impacted upon Abstract expressionism, Minimalism, and Transcendentalism. Yank’s steel wall-based sculptures reference nature and convey abstract emotional content in minimalist/maximalist forms. 

Yank met Martin in 1987 at the artist residency, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine. The two had a passion for New Mexico, and both chose the high desert to live out their lives and artistic practices. For nearly 17 years, Yank and Martin met weekly as a friendship and mentorship flourished. Martin taught Yank how to focus her inspirations, create a strong artistic vision through meditation, and scale her mind’s-eye sketches into large-scale artworks. Towards the end of Martin’s life, she asked Yank to share her philosophies with younger artists to keep her teaching alive past her death. Many of those teachings are revealed in this exhibition.

About the Artists: 

Agnes Martin (1912 – 2004) was born in Macklin, Saskatchewan, CA in 1912 and became a US citizen in 1950. Martin earned a BA in 1942 and a MA in 1952 from Teachers College at Columbia University, New York, while intermittently living in New Mexico and attending the University of New Mexico. Martin’s works have been exhibited internationally including solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, PA, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, and the Tate Gallery, London, GB. She was awarded a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1997, among other prestigious awards received in her lifetime. In 1997 the Agnes Martin Gallery at the Harwood Museum of Art of The University of New Mexico was established. Agnes Martin's work can be found in over 50 public museum collections throughout the US and abroad. 

Karen Yank received her MFA from Rutgers University and her BFA from the University of Wisconsin─Madison. Her sculptures are included in numerous museum and public collections, including the New Mexico Museum of Art, New Mexico State Capitol Art Collection, Albuquerque Museum, and the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in NYC. Yank has completed more than 50 public and private outdoor commissions across the US, including most recently being chosen for the Sunport Boulevard extension project in Albuquerque, NM. Yank was a 2022 Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts recipient.


This exhibition and programming is supported by The Mellon Foundation; The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation; Turner Carroll Gallery; NMSU College of Arts & Sciences; Friends of the University Art Museum; Mullennix Art Museum Fund; George and Lucy Gray Endowed Art Fund; and several private donors.


On view June 22 through September 16, 2023, join us for the opening reception in the University Art Museum on Thursday, June 22, 2023, from 5:30-7:30pm. An artist walk-through with Karen Yank will take place on Thursday, June 22, at 3:45pm and Thursday, August 31, at 5:30pm. Admission to all programming is free and open to the public. For more information and a detailed calendar with associated programs and dates please visit

For more information about associated programming click here

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