Barnett Newman, an American-based painter who lived from 1905 – 1970, is linked predominately to the New York Abstract Expressionist school. Even more than Mark Rothko somber coloristic paintings, Newman’s work is perhaps the most minimal of the Abstract Expressionists, as he was strongly involved in color field or monochromatic painting.
His paintings are trademarked by what Newman called “zips”. These are painted lines on canvasses of block colors that define the spacial structure of his painting. One of his best known works is Vir Heroicus Sublimis (“The Sublime is Now”) from 1950-1. When it was first exhibited, Newman wrote:
There is a tendency to look at large pictures from a distance. The large pictures in this exhibition are intended to be seen from a short distance.
These “zips” were also actualised in 3-dimensional forms, such as The Wild (1950).
See some of his work at the Museum of Modern Art for their Abstract Expressionist New York exhibition that runs until April 25, 2011.