The vast expanse of unmodulated red paint in this work is both absorbing and disorienting. It is interrupted by a single, narrow band of purple running the length of the right-hand edge. This 'zip' generates a tension throughout the canvas between presence and blankness, solidity and fragility. Its verticality also echoes the position of the viewer, helping to fulfil Newman's concern that 'the onlooker in front of my painting knows that he's there'.
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Barnett Newman (23)