Myron Stout came to artistic maturity in the 1950's, at a time when gestural Abstract Expressionism was at its height and, with the exception of Reinhardt and Albers, hard-edged geometric abstraction was on the wane. The geometry-dominated American Abstract Artists were active, including Ilya Bolotowsky, Burgoyne Diller and Charles Shaw but were clearly of secondary importance to the development of abstract painting. Myron Stout's contemplative art of intimately scaled, iconic black shapes floating in fields of white were very much against the grain of the mainstream abstraction.
Stout worked endlessly on his compositions, subtly changing placement and scale until he achieved the desired affect, which often took decades. The present charcoal drawing, of which about 40 are extant, took the artist eight years to complete, before arriving at the perfect balance of forms and spatial tension that mark the best of Stout's work. The artist's aesthetic philosophy and working methods were inextricably linked: ""You have to build up your gods, watch them dissolve before your eyes, and build them up again. A painting is a myth, a personal myth, but the ,myths of people are not created at once, they are accretions; not, however, layer on layer, but working, moving, interpenetrating layers, the top layer pushed and pulled, and tilted by still working through the unseen and unrecognized bottom layer. So, a painting is the external, material evidence of one's personal myth, built up from birth within one's self. A painting is an order of personal experience" (M. Stout Journal 21 July 1953).