Contemporary Conversations: Robert Ryman, 1976


The Menil Collection will open a collection of work from 1976 by Robert Ryman, featured artist in Season Four of Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century. Recognized for his remarkable ability to demonstrate innumerable variations within what have become the two defining characteristics of his work: white paint and a square frame, he is among a generation of artists who are continuing the legacy and belief in the purity of painting after abstract expressionism. Since 1958, when he gave up pigment, he has experimented within these limitations to celebrate the nuance and possibility of the expressive potential of paint.

With such a reduced and minimal language, he is able to highlight qualities of a painting that he feels are often overlooked, such as different types of brushstrokes, the methods of applying paint to the surface of a support, variations within the color white, and the way the placement of an artist’s signature affects a painting’s composition.

It will be the first exhibition to focus exclusively on Ryman’s work from 1976; a pivotal and often overlooked year in Ryman‚Äôs career. During this time, he continued his formal explorations by looking carefully at the way a painting exists in space. As one result of this inquiry, Ryman began to accentuate how a work of art is placed on the wall by making it‚Äôs the essential hardware; from steel mounts and Plexiglas fasteners to socket bolts, important compositional devices in his work.

You can see Robert Ryman’s segment in PARADOX, which premieres Sunday, November 18 on PBS at 10:00pm. (check local listings)

The Menil Collection
1515 Sul Ross
Houston, Texas 77006

Exhibition on view November 9, 2007-February 17, 2008