Art in Monochrome.

“Black is a property, not a quality,” Richard Serra (b. 1938) said. “A black shape can hold its space and place in relation to a larger volume and alter the mass of that volume readily.” Even in his two-dimensional artworks, Serra wields black forms as though they possess literal mass and volume.

Scroll down to view artwork from Serra and other masters of monochrome.

Richard Serra
Paths and Edges #13
Etching on buff Lanaquarelle watercolor paper
23.50 x 35.25 in

“In terms of weight, black is heavier, creates a larger volume, holds itself in a more compressed field. […] Since black is the densest color material, it absorbs and dissipates light to a maximum and thereby changes the artificial as well as the natural light in a given room.”

Vija Celmins
Spider Web
10.88 x 13 in

“I did a whole series of black works—I don’t know now—twenty, thirty works. I thought it was quite difficult to make a black painting work because it has such an incredibly strong silhouette, you know? But it did a series of things. It invited you closer and closer to the work. I don’t know what I think about that yet, but I thought it was sort of an interesting phenomena that happened.”

Martin Puryear
Untitled LP 2
17.87 x 23.75 in

“There is the potential for much more spontaneity with prints than there is with the sculpture, which tends to be very slow, accretive kind of process-labor intensive.”

Armond Lara
Bowl of Cherries
Graphite on paper
40.50 x 55 in

“I look for interesting shapes. I just start putting these things down on a piece of handmade paper, and then it’s a process of elimination to find a focal point for the piece. Then I find other things to add that make the central object out of context. What I want is surprise, surprise and strong composition, and to get that I need tension.”