Wall Circle I
Sam Gilliam (1933- ) was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. He made frequent trips to New York and admired the work of Barnett Newman, Hans Hoffman and Mark Rothko. In his early abstract paintings, his central concerns were structure, color and surface. The paintings had flat, expansive color areas with wide margins. Around 1966, influenced by the Washington Color School Artists Kenneth Noland and Morris Lewis, Gilliam began to pour color onto the canvas and "stain" it. The Washington Color School artists' interests were staining of the canvas to achieve a unity of surface and color, a saturated, bright palette and pouring paint and manipulating it while in a fluid state. He also began to fold the canvas back over itself to create a tension between surfaces and edges, unifying canvas and color as one.