16th September 2015
The Arts Club is delighted to announce an exhibition of works by important American painter Sam Gilliam, offering a rare chance to see his work in the UK.
A major figure in postwar American art, Sam Gilliam is a key pioneer of the colour field painting movement whose experiments with shape, stains, process, pouring paint and draping canvas forged new directions in art history. Inspired by artists as diverse as Frank Stella, Picasso and Cézanne, Gilliam is associated with the Washington Colour School that also includes such artists as Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland. Now in his 80s and continuing to produce new work, Gilliam’s career extends over half a century. He represented the US at the Venice Biennale in 1972.
This exhibition focusses on the large-scale bevelled-edge pieces with which Gilliam launched his career from around this period in the 1970s, alongside new works on paper. Created from accordion-folded, un-primed canvasses, these early paintings are first soaked in acrylic paint, allowing the pigment to be absorbed by the fabric. Once dry, Gilliam then unfolds the canvas and stretches it over a bevelled-edge frame. This gives the paintings a sculptural quality as they appear to emerge from the wall with a kind of material physicality.
A recent resurgence of interest in the work of African American artists from the 1960s and 1970s has contributed to a re-evaluation of Gilliam’s revolutionary work, and a long overdue recognition of the stark and lasting influence he has had on contemporary art production today.
Celebrated younger artists such as Mark Bradford and Rashid Johnson have openly acknowledged Gilliam’s influence. Major museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art have also recently acquired work.
The exhibition is curated by Pernilla Holmes and Amelie von Wedel of Wedel Art Advisory. Both the Arts Club and the curators warmly thank the artist for his work and enthusiasm in creating this show.
For all general enquiries and enquiries about available works please contact Amelie von Wedel:
; +44(0)20 7221 3415