In his series of white paintings, artist Robert Ryman attempted to purge outside references from his work and express a sense of the absolute. While for a period of time in his career he limited himself to only the color white, he underplayed the importance of such an extreme absence of color. He instead focused on the fundamental properties of his materials and chose to expose the “other” elements of painting, such as the physicality of the paint and supporting elements and the process of how the two come together. His investigation of these elements is methodical, yet he allows space in the works to respond to the unpredictable nature of the interaction between paint and support. Although completely monochromatic, State offers subtle insight into the painterly process. Ryman’s white paintings unlocked a door for other artists to explore painting, as well as sculpture, in a way that had been unfulfilled in the past.
Object label from REMIX The Collection, November 10, 2006–November 25, 2007