Trips, crossings, trudges: A reappraisal of Agnes Martin’s Gabriel | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 4, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 2045-6298
  • E-ISSN: 2045-6301



Agnes Martin’s 1976 film Gabriel is frequently dismissed as an anomaly in the artist’s oeuvre, and thus has not to date received sustained scholarly attention. Certain difficulties arise in categorizing Gabriel within genres of experimental film, and even within Martin’s own practice. This article aims to reopen the debate around the film, especially in light of its recent restoration by the Museum of Modern Art and Pace Gallery. I seek to reassess the film within the wider context of experimental film of the era, as well as explore the dialogue Gabriel holds with Martin’s paintings. I argue that Martin uses the film to create a mode of vision grounded in the body, demanding a durational viewing that in turn allows us to look at the paintings anew. Using the work of French feminist writers I trace a kind of écriture féminine in Gabriel, as Martin cuts a path between the dominant modes of expression of an era largely occupied by male film-makers.


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