|::: SAM GILLIAM :::|
"The work ... is as much about shaping color in the painting as it is about paper weight."
- Sam Gilliam, August 2007
These profound new works of Sam Gilliam reveal themselves as painterly through the staining, the combing and the heft of explosive color. The identity and configurations of the painting are created by collage and various layering techniques. The work evolves through a number of wet and dry textural changes to achieve its end, an organic chromatic explosion of textural form and color. The wet form is maintained to illuminate movement, the weightlessness of paper. The various layers of stain interpret the interplay of gravity, depth and kinetic action.
"Through Paper Weight" is not just about form ... but space, weightlessness. The colors float using the wall as a plane and the depth of the structural support physically creates a more so freed space. The eruption of color defies conventional boundaries. The white light is free energy deployed in this theatre of intense color.
For Gilliam, these new works represent a return to color through painting or artistic process. The work in this exhibit is reminiscent of a language used by the artist for 30 years, whether the image is fl at or suspended by hinges it remains freed from boundaries. The works operate like the screen inspired creations of Matisse and the mini collage related comments used by the artist himself over the past three decades.
In the 1970's, Gilliam's innovative iconoclastic spirit and direct challenge to conventional form and space led to an eruption of experimentation with freed works. His work with freed canvases, translucent paints and assemblages, gave way to further exploration of space and of geometric shapes.
By the 1980's, Gilliam defied all boundaries of space and form. Gilliam's work took on three dimensional elements with the layering of shaped pieces and the use of appendages. His use of layering techniques, mixed media, and raking the upper strata of translucent acrylic yielded works with an underlying complexity that were colorful and had a much different form than traditional canvases.
These current works defy space and convey weightlessness on a flat surface. This assemblage of weightless flight of color is pilgrimage to Gilliam's first stained paintings yet evokes a sculptural element of suspension. Today's Gilliam's work is recognized by the brightly stained propylene layers of color. Each piece represents a monument to the caustic variables of the visual aesthetic. Gilliam here continues to challenge the interwoven complexities of color, structure, texture and its relationship to isolated space.
Gilliam has been the recipient of many commissions, grants, awards and honorary degrees. These include two National Endowment of the Arts awards, fellowships from the Washington Gallery of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Foundation. He exhibits internationally and has garnered global respect.