The different materials Robert Ryman uses in his paintings and the different procedures he follows in their execution make up, as one might say, all the visible and narratable parts of his art. He has always avoided other metaphorical or symbolic considerations, just as he has preferred the colour white -though not exclusively- as the one in which all the other colours are subsumed, even if they also remain absent or invisible. Ryman's first paintings on metal support go back to 1964, when he used vinyl polymer on aluminium. His use of glass fibre began five years later, although then it was not a rigid fibre, but a thin, flexible one called surface veil, hence the title of a series of eighteen works he began in 1970 and finished in 1972. The purpose of the series was, in the words of the curator Naomi Spector, "to bring the pigment closer to the wall, making the support material thinner or less visible." In 1976 he designed the first visible subjection elements. "The idea behind the subjection elements," he stated some years later, "has to do with how a painting is hung on a wall, normally paintings, if they are pictures, are hung on the wall invisibly, because that is not what interests us. What we are looking at is the image inside the bounded space.… My paintings do not really exist unless they are on the wall as part of the wall, as part of the room." In the year before he did Director, 1982, he produced his first works on glass fibre panels with an aluminium nucleus, which he designed himself. That led to his sparse but decisive experiments with sculpture.
Works that may interest you