I recently stumbled across this mans work while researching about Jil Sander. The news of her return to creative director of her own fashion house (and non-renewal of Raf Simons contract) prompted me to take a closer look at the situation. Reading up on her history, design philosophies, and inspirations I noted her main influences and dug deeper. Amongst the people and artists who turned up I found the works of Robert Ryman to be most captivating.
I have a deep appreciation for the research of foundation and minimalism in any given discipline. Stripping the medium from any added frills can lead one to examine the fundamentals of creation. Putting shape and form, colour and texture, and of course balance, at the core of the work. Studying artists who apply these basic principles helps me re-affirm their importance and relevance in my own work .
In his bio below you will notice he began painting after getting a job as a security guard at the New York Museum of Modern Art in the 1950′s. This alone depicts such a romantic image in my mind – but it also shines some light on why his work looks rather free of formal training.
At the cusp of abstract expressionism, Ryman was part of a league who re-set the rules and gave way to new genres of contemporary art.
“Robert Ryman was born May 30, 1930 in Nashville, Tennessee. Ryman studied at the Tennessee Polytechnic Institute and the George Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, before serving in the United States Army from 1950 – 1952. In 1952, Ryman relocated to New York where he made his first paintings while working as a security guard at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the early 1950s. Ryman was intrigued by the abstract expressionist works of Rothko, de Kooning, Still and Pollock and became curious about the act of painting and began experimenting in 1955. Ryman reduces his paintings to the bare minimum: the square format and white color (he uses an extremely reduced vocabulary) but his work is varied because he changes the scale and the texture. Close to minimal art, his work may be distinguished from it by the importance he gives to the painted surface and to the painter’s touch.”