Flowers

Sam Gilliam
Flowers

Sam Gilliam (b. 1933 Tupelo, MS), Flowers, 1989, Mixed media, collage, and marble construction, 36 x 36 inches, Museum purchase with funds provided by Wellesley College Friends of Art 2018.238

 

Flowers is the first work by Sam Gilliam to enter the collections at the Davis Museum. Born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1989, Gilliam graduated from the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1951; he later completed a master’s degree in fine arts at his alma mater in 1961. His artistic style evolved from figural abstractions inspired by German Expressionists into a pioneering art form utilizing an unsupported canvas to rethink what constitutes a painting. Gilliam’s revolutionary signature style consists of large swaths of paint stained canvas draped and suspended on the wall. In Flowers, Gilliam deconstructs different media to form the structural components of a flower, and to consider how color and texture communicate the essence of a flower. A leading American abstractionist, Gilliam’s work signifies an important addition to the Davis’s collection.