Ryman believes that the purity of the color white best highlights the manipulation of paint. His paintings and drawings are meant to heighten the viewer’s awareness of subtle variations in the substance of his materials and his brushwork. The relation of the painted areas to the edges of the support also accentuates variation and physicality.
Classico 5 is part of a seminal series Ryman executed on Classico paper. He connected three rows of four cream-colored sheets of paper at the corners with pieces of masking tape. He then painted a large, off-center white square over the conjoined sheets. When the paint dried, the tape was removed, but its presence remains in the small, unpainted rectangles in the corners of individual sheets.
Gallery label from Geo/Metric: Prints and Drawings from the Collection, June 11–August 18, 2008.
Ryman’s Classico 5 is emblematic of the artist’s monochromatic paintings. Instead of a canvas, the support is three rows of four sheets of off–white Classico paper. Ryman painted an off-center monochrome square in a brighter white on top of this paper grid—revealing subtle differences in gradients of white. When Ryman finished painting, he removed the tape connecting the corners of the paper, disrupting the uniformity of the paint and adding yet another element of complexity to what may otherwise appear to be an accumulation of paper.
Gallery label from There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage’s 4’33”, October 12, 2013–June 22, 2014.