Barnett Newman Onement


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Throughout the 1940s he worked in a surrealist vein before developing his mature style. This is characterized by areas of color separated by thin vertical lines, or "zips" as Newman called them. In the first works featuring zips, the color fields are variegated, but later the colors are pure and flat. Newman himself thought that he reached his fully mature style with the Onement series (from 1948). The zips define the spatial structure of the painting, while simultaneously dividing and uniting the composition. Already 1944 Barnett Newman tried to explain America's newest art movement and included a list of "the men in the new movement. " Ex-Surrealists, like Matta are mentioned, Wolfgang Paalen Paalen is mentioned twice together with Gottlieb, Rothko, Pollock, Hofmann, Baziotes, Gorky and others. Motherwell is mentioned with a question mark. The zip remained a constant feature of Newman's work throughout his life. In some paintings of the 1950s, such as The Wild, which is eight feet tall by one and a half inches wide (2. 43 meters by 4. 1 centimeters), the zip is all there is to the work. Newman also made a few sculptures which are essentially three-dimensional zips. :511