Sam Gillain whose color-filled canvases explored the potential of abstraction. He died an old man at the age of 88, on June 25. His kidney failed. He was represented by two galleries Pace and David Kordansky. He became famous during the revolutionary times of the civil rights movement.
A lot of black artists made figures depicting their pain, and their truth during those times but Sam was different, He chose the path of abstractionism. He chose an art form that is so complex and did wonder with it.
He made the art free of the canvas, His”drape” paintings were groundbreaking in the art form.
He let the fabric breathe its natural form and created a post-civil war masterpiece. There was extreme racism from white artists toward black artists because the black artists exposed the rotten American society of that time.
Sam lived to make a point. His art was free and he didn’t need white validation. His work speaks for itself. Many other black artists created an art form that was full of freedom and was not ashamed of its black identity.
Sam Gillian childhood:
Sam Gilliam was born in the Mississippi city of Tupelo in 1933. He was raised in Kentucky where he started enjoying artwork so early.
His connection with arts grew and he pursued a degree in fine arts. His first artwork was showcased at University of Louiseville. Later he joined the US army in 1956. The connection with arts wasn’t lost in his army days he came back and went to pursue a master’s in Fine arts.
It took him four years to finally become the superstar of the art. In 1962 is wife became a reporter for the post and she was also the first black woman to become a reporter. She supported him to work and believe in himself.
“My drape paintings are never hung the same way twice,” Gilliam once said. “The composition is always present, but one must let things go, be open to improvisation, spontaneity, what’s happening in a space while one works.”
He always experiments with the arts from quilted paintings to metal frames. He caricatures his childhood QUiltes like patchwork in his own work and that was so beautiful,
Sam Gilliam and his notable work.
“Green April” (1969), acrylic on canvas, 98 x 271 x 3 7/8 inches, collection of Kunstmuseum Basel.
Despite so many awards his work was underpriced and his white colleagues minted money. in last some years people have started paying the money that should have been paid in the first place. one of the biggest artist in US was underpaid because of racism.
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