top of page
COLOR as attitude.
Ruth Ann Fredenthal, Winston Roeth, Phil Sims

28 September - 15 November 2017

Ruth Ann Fredenthal (Detroit), Winston Roeth (Chicago, 1945) Phil Sims (Richmond, 1940), three of the most important and intriguing exponents of American colour art, will be the protagonists of the forthcoming exhibition at Osart Gallery in Milan entitled Color as Attitude.


Curated by Alberto Zanchetta and on view from the 28th of September until the 15th of November, this group show sets out to enhance the understanding of each artist’s career as a painter through a careful selection of nine works, both historical and recent.


Colour is certainly the common thread shared by these three artists, who only at first sight appear to paint in monochrome. These are works that feature a characteristic radical contemporary expression that sets them apart from Minimalist monochrome production and from the cold intellectualism of the Conceptualists. What interests them the most is technique and the impression they make on the observer. The numerous veiling effects on the painted surface make it almost disappear and open up a view of an undefined space.


Three or four colours are used in the works of Ruth Ann Fredenthal, for example, distributed in different parts of the support. The surface is animated by slight variations of colour and undulating lines that are almost imperceptible to the naked eye.

Her quest for the micro-tonalities of pure colour and their relationship, as subtle as it is complicated, has always constituted a fundamental theme in her artistic production.

The technique she uses is very scientific: she starts by choosing her format, the square, and her linen surface, a linen that comes from Belgium and it is usually used by restorers to line older works, and only then does she apply her colour.

The end result is breathtaking. Generated by the multiple layers of applied colours, the painted surface seems to disappear and to open up a view of an undefined space, as Giuseppe Panza, one of Ruth Ann Fredenthal’s earliest admirers, put it in his Memories of a Collector.


Similarly, Phil Sims’ painting technique is based on the application of multiple layers of paint, usually somewhere between forty and sixty of them, until the entire surface of the canvas is covered with horizontal and vertical brushstrokes.

One notable quality of Phil Sims’ technique of application is that, layer after layer, his colour takes on and unleashes a unique luminosity. By virtue of his innate sensitivity and painstaking technique, the final result has to be seen to be believed: the ultimate colour is created as the total sum of his many brushstrokes, which filter through to the surface.


Winston Roeth paints monochrome or bichrome panels that he often combines to form a single installation. Working with raw pigment and tempera, he creates dense matt surfaces, sometimes painting the outline in a contrasting colour.

Roeth plays with a variety of combinations of lines, exploring the effects they have on human perception.

The phenomenology of colour, light and space constitutes a central theme in Roeth’s painting practice.

After years spent exploring light and colour, he developed a clear technique of his own. Using a brush, he applies the pure pigment, layer after layer, mixing it with water and an emulsion of polyurethane, until the entire surface of the canvas is covered. All his efforts are focused on the attempt to achieve the right degree of saturation of the colour, so that the pigments emanate pure light.



Ruth Ann Fredenthal. Biographical notes

Ruth Ann Fredenthal was born in Detroit, Michigan.

The daughter of artist parents, as a child she drew and painted animals, sometimes in abstract forms, and already decided at the age of three that she would be a painter.

Her artistic education featured short periods spent at the Philadelphia Museum Institute and the Yale Summer School, Norfolk, although her real training took place at Bennington College, under the supervision of Paul Feeley, whom she considers to be the only living artist to have exerted an influence on her.

From Bennington, she won a Fulbright Fellowship in Painting to Florence, Italy, and spent a year there. She then returned to New York.

Deciding to continue in the great tradition of painting in oils, the artist makes use of all the techniques related to this discipline of painting.

She currently lives and works in New York.


Winston Roeth. Biographical notes

Winston Roeth was born in 1945 in Chicago.

He studied first at the University of Illinois and the University of New Mexico, then at the Royal College of Art in London.

His artistic output dates back to the sixties, when he started out by investigating how colour is perceived. In the course of ten years, he held numerous one-man shows in the Stark Gallery in New York, as well as others in Basel, London, Hamburg, Gōteborg, Sydney, Palma de Mallorca, Frankfurt and Santa Fe.

Roeth has partnered in numerous choreographic and theatre installations and has taught in both Chicago and New York.

He now lives and works in Beacon, New York.


Phil Sims. Biographical notes

Phil Sims was born in 1940 in Richmond, California.

Before devoting his attentions to painting, he worked as a potter, creating pieces in ceramic.

In the sixties, he enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute. These days, he is considered to be one of the world’s greatest colourist painters.

In the early days of his artistic training, he studied how the Abstract Expressionists used colour, while also always keeping an alert eye on European painting.

In the early days, his artistic career saw him closely involved with the Radical Painters’ group. But after the exhibition curated in 1984 by Thomas Krens at the Williams College Museum of Art in Massachusetts, the group decided to disband and each artist went his own way for a more personal and independent research.

Sims now lives and works in the United Stated, but often exhibits in Europe, in both public spaces and private galleries.


The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue with a critical essay by Alberto Zanchetta.



Milan, July 2017


COLOR AS ATTITUDE. Ruth Ann Fredenthal, Winston Roeth, Phil Sims

Milan, Osart Gallery

Corso Plebisciti 12

28 September – 15 November 2017


Vernissage: Wednesday 27 September, 6.30 p.m.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.; 2.30 p.m. – 7.00 p.m.


Free entry 

Information: tel. +39.02.5513826;


Press office

CLP Relazioni Pubbliche 

Marco Olianas, tel. +39.02.36755700


This press release and images are on

bottom of page