Sam Gilliam: Late Paintings




Pace Gallery presents Sam Gilliam: Late Paintings, a landmark exhibition of late works by one of the most celebrated figures in post-war American art.

Debuting a suite of large-scale paintings and works on paper executed in the last two years of his life, Late Paintings is a testament to Gilliam’s remarkable and unflagging commitment to abstraction. Conceived together with the artist prior to his death in June of 2022, the exhibition will occupy the entirety of Pace’s Hanover Square gallery. It will mark Gilliam’s first ever solo presentation in the United Kingdom.
Throughout his nearly seven-decade career, Sam Gilliam invented and continuously reinvented a singular and deeply influential approach to abstraction, working both with paint and with the canvas itself in radically new and revolutionary ways. A leading member of the Washington Color School in the 1960s, Gilliam’s paintings, sculptures, and installations continued to draw on myriad influences, including music, poetry, and politics throughout his career. For Gilliam, art and life were inextricably entwined—the world of his paintings flowed directly from the dramatis personae of his own social and familial existence. The titles of his artworks make reference to a wide range of aspects from everyday life: significant sites of memory; cultural icons from music, poetry, and popular culture, from Ornette Coleman to Beyoncé; and most of all, close friends, family members and loved ones, in particular the artist’s wife, Annie.

The monumental late paintings embody the apotheosis of Gilliam’s work with the bevelled-edge canvas, which he pioneered in the late 1960s. His late abstractions are material landscapes, built up from fields of densely layered and richly saturated pigment, applied through a vast range of expressive gestures and experimental techniques of mark-making. The extraordinary surfaces of Gilliam’s paintings buzz with materiality, achieved through the alchemic mixing of acrylic paint with a wide variety of non-traditional agents and materials, from sawdust to powdered metals. Gilliam manipulated the wet surfaces using a range of everyday tools and innovative techniques, from fishing net to garden rakes, scraping away and scoring the layers of pigment to produce a dazzling range of chromatic and formal interactions. The resulting compositions vibrate, suggesting the raw energies of nature itself.

Duration 11 October 2022 - 12 November 2022
Times Tuesday–Saturday 10–6
Cost Free
Venue Pace London
Address 5 Hanover Square, London, W1S 1HD
Contact 4402032067600 / londoninfo@pacegallery.com / www.pacegallery.com

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