Tate Modern talks_lectures

Painting With My Back to the World

Agnes Martin Gabriel 1976, Film still

Agnes Martin Gabriel 1976, Film still, 16mm, 2 reels, Answer Print, Negative printing rolls, 78 minutes. Photographs by Bill Jacobson, courtesy Pace Gallery

© 2015 Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Agnes Martin’s apparently minimal approach belied a deep conviction in the delicate and expressive power of art, often describing herself as painting with her back to the world.

Coinciding with Tate Modern’s exhibition, this event takes the artist’s practice and life as a prompt to explore the relationship between creative inspiration, the artist’s inner mind and the world. Bringing together curators, artists and scientists, this panel critically addresses some of the patterns and processes in Martin’s work, offering new insights into the relationship between creativity, perception and mental health.

Confirmed speakers include Frances Morris, Susan Aldworth and Patricia Townsend. The event is chaired by Steven Connor.

The event is followed by a drinks reception in Café 1.


Susan Aldworth

Susan Aldworth is an artist who references medicine, neuroscience and philosophy in her work exploring human identity. Her solo exhibition of three portraits of people living with epilepsy The Portrait Anatomised was shown to critical acclaim at the National Portrait Gallery in 2013. Her exhibition exploring the many narratives of schizophrenia Reassembling the Self was first shown at Hatton Gallery in Newcastle in 2012. Aldworth is currently working on a project exploring Sleep at both Guy’s Hospital in London and York University called The Dark Self.  She is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and 4. She is represented by GV Art gallery in London.

Steven Connor

Steven Connor is Grace 2 Professor of English in the University of Cambridge and a critic and broadcaster. He has published studies of ventriloquism, the skin, the imagination of air, flies and the philosophy of sport, and he is currently writing a book on art and numbers. 

Frances Morris

Frances Morris is Director of Collection (International Art) at Tate and curator of the Agnes Martin exhibition.

Patricia Townsend

Patricia Townsend works with video, photography and installation and her artwork has been shown widely in gallery exhibitions and film screenings. She is also a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and was formerly a consultant psychotherapist in the NHS. She is interested in the interface between psychoanalysis and the artist’s creative process.

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

10 June 2015 at 19.30–21.00