Whether he was speaking literally or metaphorically, his striking way of words makes a point. Art, if anything, can bring the viewer back to the basics of what it means to be human.
In using the abstract impressionist style of art, Newman worked to create a certain impression on the viewer without using the usual forms and images familiar to us all.
This means the art itself is not a comforting, familiar thing but instead pulls the viewer out of the simple impression and instead forces them to look deeper, past the colours and lines of the art and into what it could mean.
Dionysius, painted by Barnett Newman in 1949, is a large painting of oil on canvas. The main colour which takes up most of the canvas is an interesting shade of green and blue, struck through with one thin line of yellow and above it a thicker line of orange.
This use of broad colour is known as a colourscape, and most of Newman's art followed a similar style.
One interesting thing to note is that Barnett Newman named those solid lines as 'zips'. They appear in many of his art, and indeed helped him develop a distinct style as his ability and talent matured. Though many artists use this style now, Newman was one of the artists responsible for popularising it.
This is one of Newman's earlier works. Around the time of painting, Newman and his wife decided that they would make a living solely off Newman's art which shows the popularity of the abstract impressionist movement of the time.
The simple shapes and focus on colour and emotion from that colour portrayed a new attitude to popular art. Many people appreciated the ambiguity of the art and the ability it gave them to put their own meaning into the painting.