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Sam Gilliam, New Work

May 19 - July 21, 2007

reception for the artist, Saturday, May 19, 4:00 to 7:00 pm.

Works by Sam Gilliam

Press Release:

SAM GILLIAM, "New Work" May 19 - July 28, 2007

Sam Gilliam is Washington's best known contemporary painter. A major retrospective of forty years of his work has recently completed a four city, one and one- half year tour, ending in Houston, Texas in early May.

Sam Gilliam's sixth solo exhibition at the Marsha Mateyka Gallery, contains surprises and new twists on the abstract dimensional painting for which he is so well known. This exhibition titled "New Work" includes both constructed paintings and large paper constructions.

While continuing to layer and pour acrylic paint on fine birch plywood, Sam Gilliam is now creating circles and vortices in vivid colors by drawing with lines in the wet surface and by filling in circular shapes. In several of the paintings on view, the circles are suspended in transparent films of paint which seem to echo the pattern of the wood below.

After painting the birch, Sam Gilliam cuts the boards into rectangles. The cuts slice through the liquid circles in unpredictable ways. The rectangles are then reassembled to create the final painting. In each, raised, corner rectangles disrupt the overall rectangular shape-which may remind the viewer of the artist's historic breakaway from the shape of the traditional stretched canvas. In the artist's mind, the painting does not come into being until it is cut and reassembled. Sam Gilliam thinks of these works as "constructed surprises".

Construction is also the key word in describing the new works on paper in the exhibition. The artist utilized 15 or more silkscreens to begin the creation of this new series titled "Concrete". In these paper constructions, Sam Gilliam's preference for collage and raked surfaces is evident. The title "Concrete" refers to that actual material applied directly to the surface and then raked. With their heavily inked surfaces and concrete mixture, stitching and unpredictable shapes, these unique works reflect Sam Gilliam's relentless inventiveness.

Sam Gilliam's works have been in the public collections of major museums for many years including Art Institute of Chicago, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Hirshhorn Museum, Menil Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Musee d'Art Moderne, Paris, Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Tate Gallery, Walker Art Center, and Whitney Museum of American Art. In the past year, he has received the Governor's Award from the state of Mississippi; he completed a large commission for the U.S. State department for the new Embassy in Mali; and his career was the subject of numerous articles, including one in the April issue of Art in America.

For further information, contact: 202 328-0088

Marsha Mateyka Gallery
2012 R St., NW
Washington, DC 20009
hours: Wed - Sat., 11:00 t0 5:00pm