Interestingly, the zip in Onement V is not intended to contrast with the broader washes of colour used in the painting. Instead, it seems like a finishing touch, a lighter streak of blue on an already blue sky.
Newman thought that Onement I, which was the first in the series of six, was his masterful leap forward. Onement I was relatively small when compared to the work's significance in his artistic development.
As the series progressed each new piece was a little bigger. Perhaps Newman hoped that a larger canvas would be more inviting to viewers and encourage greater interaction with the work of art.
Onement I was the first instance of the craftsman utilizing zips to characterise his composition's spatial structure. These thick or thin bands in his work are sometimes unpredictable in their thickness and shape.
They typically exist on a smooth field of colour. Newman has positioned each zip in his paintings in such a way that they both isolate and join each piece.
As in all six different artworks of Newman's Onement arrangement, Onement V urges the watcher to experience the impact that the composition has on his or her own physical and perceptual sense of being. Christie's most recently sold Onement V for $22.4 million, a record cost for the craftsman at closeout. Regardless of how impressive that price is, Onement VI actually bested that figure when it was sold after that to an undisclosed patron.
Significance and dreaming impact entrancingly in Newman's craft. His vertical lines are brimming with omen. The open space talks about creation, God and the human inclination or desire to create boundaries.
Newman's theoretical expressionism utilises roomy surfaces. He covers and divides scaled canvases with streaming spreads of rich colour that reach out to each onlooker. Maybe Onement V and the others in the series are not just popular because people enjoy colourful drawing lines in space. Perhaps the painting gives each viewer a sense of boundaries. This attracts viewers at a profound psychic level.