Robert Ryman, Surface Veil III, 1971
From the Guggenheim:
Throughout his career, Robert Ryman has attempted to eliminate illusionism and outside references from his work, focusing instead on the fundamental properties of the materials he employs. He has confined himself to the color white, yet disclaims its importance. “It was never my intention to make white paintings,” he insisted in a 1986 interview with critic Nancy Grimes. “And it still isn’t… . The white is just a means of exposing other elements of the painting.” These “other elements” include varieties of paint (oil and acrylic) and supports (canvas, paper, and metals), as well as the process of binding them. He investigates the properties of these elements methodically, yet responds spontaneously to the unpredictable exigencies caused by their interaction.