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Robert Ryman in "Paradox"Preview

Robert Ryman was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1930. Ryman studied at the Tennessee Polytechnic Institute and the George Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, before serving in the United States Army (1950–52). Ryman’s work explodes the classical distinctions between art as object and as surface—between sculpture and painting, between structure and ornament—emphasizing instead the role that perception and context play in creating an aesthetic experience.

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Robert Ryman

Robert Ryman’s work explodes the classical distinctions between art as object and as surface—between sculpture and painting, between structure and ornament—emphasizing instead the role that perception and context play in creating an aesthetic experience. Ryman isolates the most basic of components (material, scale, and support), enforcing limitations that allow the viewer to focus on the physical presence of the work in space. Since the 1950s, Ryman has used primarily white paint on a square surface while harnessing the nuanced effects of light and shadow to animate his work. Neither abstract nor entirely monochromatic, Ryman’s paintings are paradoxically “realist” according to the artist’s own lexicon.

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