Sam Gilliam American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 690

Gilliam once stated, "I choreograph the color in terms of the way I want it to be seen." In Phase, a range of vibrant tones and fluid gestures that recall drips, splatters, stains, and strokes work in tandem to transmit an abundance of detail and emotional energy. The print possesses a sense of luminosity reminiscent of stained-glass windows: crisscrossing bands in lush tones of red create a latticelike structure, while shimmering colors with various degrees of translucency are irregularly interspersed across the surface like dappled light. Phase conjures the improvisation and experimentation found in Gilliam’s monumental color-stained canvases known as the drape paintings, yet because it is a screenprint, each color, mark, and gesture had to be carefully planned and a strict order followed in its creation.

Phase, Sam Gilliam (American, born Tupelo, Mississippi, 1933–2022 Washington, D.C.), Screenprint

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