new-york

Robert Ryman

Peter Blum Gallery

Robert Ryman was still in his late twenties and early thirties and not quite set in his ways when from 1957 to 1964 he made the twenty-seven works on paper exhibited here. Nevertheless, the now all-too-familiar square format is already in place, and many of the works are at least partially white, another staple of Ryman’s mature identity. The fact that the artist was still in flux—in a state of experimental innocence, as it were—makes these works particularly engaging. It is as though Ryman were testing the possibilities without reaching any conclusions—a welcome relief from the knowingness of the later paintings.

Sometimes the paint is thickly applied and agitated, making for a certain provocative painterliness. At other times it forms an atmospheric veil on the paper, emerging as a surface in its own right. Sometimes wallpaper or newsprint, and often translucent or off-white, the support

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