Painting in Black & White

Franz Kline, Mahoning, 1956, oil and paper collage on canvas, 80 × 100 inches (W
Franz Kline, Mahoning, 1956, oil and paper collage on canvas, 80 × 100 inches (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York)

Tamar Zinn considers the limitations and potential of painting in black and white.

Zinn writes that "painting in black and white is not the same as thinking in black and white. By painting in black and white, the artist has pared down one part of image-making -- color choice, but rather than certainty we are offered a range of possibilities. Is the blackness something concrete or is it atmospheric? Does whiteness always connote a void? Can blackness and whiteness possess many of the same qualities? And of course, labeling colors simply as 'black' or 'white' is simplistic, as there are many variations of blackness and whiteness. Although the palette is limited to black and white, the experience of seeing is complex."