Although it is just one-and-a-half inches wide, The Wild is the same height as the artist’s vast painting Vir Heroicus Sublimis. Here Newman isolated the “zip” from the larger compositional structure, making it entirely self-sufficient and giving it a sculptural presence on the wall.
Gallery label from Abstract Expressionist New York, October 3, 2010-April 25, 2011.
An oddly shaped painting, The Wild is seven feet tall by a mere one-and-a-half inches wide (243 x 4.1 cm). Its orange coloring is, in fact, a fat zip painted onto the dark ground of the canvas, filling almost its entire surface. Because this work is so narrow and tall, it reads as a bright orange zip that not only shares the viewer’s space but also floats freely there, against the open expanse of the wall. Encountering the work, viewers are encouraged to look both at and past it. Its overall solidity and unusual shape cause it to appear as a freestanding, sculptural zip and emphasize the physical context of the wall—qualities that would influence the subsequent generation of Minimalist artists.
Additional text from In The Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting online course, Coursera, 2017