Sam Gilliam

Klein Art Works

Sam Gilliam creates lively, patchwork compositions by painting in acrylic on birch panels, then cutting the panels into smallish pieces and recombining them. He insistently shuffles and calls attention to what he perceives to be painting’s essential elements—especially liquified color, various methods of paint application, and the physical nature of the painting surface. Animated by subtle rhythms and an often surprising use of color, Gilliam’s churning, often vertiginous polyptychs replace the orderly patterns of altarpieces with something much more whimsical and open-ended.

Bits of a single panel often end up serving as components in several different pieces, whether right-side-up, upside-down or sideways. In a curious, cut-and-paste mixture of carpentry and collage, the paintings manifest irregular shapes and contours alongside small perforations or slots—sometimes even featuring hinged

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.