Ryman believes that the purity of the color white best highlights the manipulation of paint. His paintings and drawings are meant to heighten the viewer’s awareness of subtle variations in the substance of his materials and his brushwork. The relation of the painted areas to the edges of the support also accentuates variation and physicality.
Classico 5 is part of a seminal series Ryman executed on Classico paper. He connected three rows of four cream-colored sheets of paper at the corners with pieces of masking tape. He then painted a large, off-center white square over the conjoined sheets. When the paint dried, the tape was removed, but its presence remains in the small, unpainted rectangles in the corners of individual sheets.