Artist Robert Ryman, one of the prime engineers of a new style of painterly abstraction during the Post-War era of Contemporary art, has passed away at the age of 88. The artist, whose iconic white canvases, executed with brusque brushstrokes and a particular interest in the examination of the painting across multiple contexts and dimensions, was widely hailed as a link between the abstraction of the 1950’s and the conceptual minimalism of the 1970’s.
Born in Nashville, Ryman would find his way to New York in pursuit of a music career, but would branch out into painting, inspired in part by his time working as a guard at MoMA. Moving gradually away from music, Ryman’s early work earned him recognition in Europe, and he would exhibit frequently, eventually being included in the famous show When Attitudes Become Form at the Kunsthalle Bern in Switzerland. Ryman’s work continued to evolve and shift over the course of his career, always focused around the application of white paint across varied surfaces and materials, often exploring the impact of contextual color, hanging, framing, and light as contributing factors in his work.
The artist is survived by his wife, painter Merrill Wagner, whom he married in 1969, as well as his sons, Will, Cordy and Ethan, all of whom are artists in their own right.
— D. Creahan