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ROBERT RYMAN

HAVE YOU EVER walked into a darkened room only to find that, once your eyes adjusted to the light, there was much to discover? Long ago, I wrote this about a particular Ryman painting, yet it is a feeling at the heart of what makes all of his artwork so remarkable. Often described as simply squares of white paint of various textures, Ryman’s paintings suggest a narrow focus. That focus, however, allows our attention to be more acute and sharpened, and what is actually offered is far from straightforward. What might at first seem simple turns out to be complex.  

Ryman’s art is one of practical invention of the highest order, in the service of making a quality of mind visible. Often his studio contained a trove of various industrial clips, new kinds of plastic sheeting, or samples of metal panels, and sometimes these items found their way into finished artworks along

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