Robert Ryman


Never one for grandiloquence, Robert Ryman has for some recent exhibitions drafted short statements about the continuous experiment that is his painting. These tend invariably toward the plainspoken, hardware-store procedural, and are thus the perfect complement to work that has long engaged the stuff of the medium without a surplus of theoretical effluvia, despite a patent conceptual orientation. In the text accompanying “Large-small, thick-thin, light reflecting, light absorbing,” which comprised nineteen numbered paintings of the same title on various supports (Tyvek made of spunbonded olefin, MDF, aluminum, wood, and cotton stretched over wood), Ryman explains his use of industrial Tyvek (“It is very thin and looks like paper, but is strong and not affected by moisture and repels dust”) as well as his prolonged engagement with the small wooden panels and other technical matters. But

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