Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment

Robert Ryman At Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, until 1 October Robert Ryman has been an artist for 50 years but still seems to take nothing for granted, beginning with the choice of materials for his paintings. At 18th-century Inverleith House this summer are works made with aluminium, fibreglass and plexiglass, as well as corrugated cardboard, paper, and good old-fashioned canvas. To these surfaces Ryman applies oil, acrylic, enamel, pastel or some other medium, and does so in very varied ways - evenly or atmospherically, or lushly.

Then there's the manner in which the works are hung: a piece of vinyl is almost ush with the wall, while other pieces project and cast a shadow or are fastened by 'black oxide octagonal steel bolts'. And not forgetting colour: Ryman has famously restricted himself to white, but there are many different 'whites' against the uniform one of Inverleith House's walls.

So Ryman systematically takes apart the process of painting, isolating and examining every move, making you notice nuances in these light-filled rooms. If this sounds didactic rather than a source of pleasure, that's not the case.

Hung sparely as they are, single pieces can be beautiful, some particularly so. There's a barely suppressed hedonism as shreds of blue underpainting emerge amid the white (see picture), while one work could be a cloud study by Constable. And in Versions XI the underlying grid becomes explicit, rhyming with the grid of glazing bars in the nearby window and the grid of Edinburgh's New Town in the distance; this piece is perfectly placed.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs

AJ Jobs