Saturday, August 21, 2021

Are You Sure That's Off-White? --- Day 10/108

Walk: Up and Down Stairs again, finishing touches on new carpet project

Distance: 1 mile (all stairs), small yoga

So, Ciwt's attempts to photogaph her new carpet  

(which is actually a latte-ish off-white shade that eludes her iphone camera) put her in mind of a New York artist who spent much of his career attempting to capture the essence of white.

That would be Robert Ryman (1930-2019) who was known for his abstract, white-on-white paintings.  That's one below on a white wall. 

And here are a few more: 


Ryman originally came to New York City from his native Tennessee with the intention of becoming a professional saxaphone player.  To support himself  he took a job as a guard at the Museum of Modern Art and soon became fascinated with the subjects he was guarding.  Specifically his fascination went to exactly how the paintings on the walls had been done.  As he was famously quoted "There is never any question of what to paint, only how to paint."  After quitting his MoMA job, which he held from 1953-1960 in order to be close to painting, he spent the next year working in the Art Division of the New York Public Library.  At some point he began buying a variety of art materials and experimenting with them in his apartment.  This plus ongoing, intense talks with his many artist friends and co-workers, such as Sol LeWitt and Roy Lichtenstein, was his self-styled art education.  

It is difficult not to think of Ryman as a 'monchromist' or a 'minimalist,' but he saw himself as a 'realist' painter because he felt he was only presenting the materials he used at their face value.  Ever an experimenter, the majority of his 'realistic' works feature brushy white on white or off-white paint on a wide variety (to say the least) of surfaces: canvas, linen, steel, aluminum, plexiglas, vinyl, burlap to name a few. No matter how Ryman was categorized, he was prized by numerous galleries, museums, and collectors in the States and abroad throughout his career.  

Ciwt has to wonder if he, like she, went nuts trying to capture his artwork on camera - or if he left the photography to the professionals.

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