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David Kordansky Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in The Art Show 2020, organized by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA), with a solo presentation of new paintings on paper by Sam Gilliam. The Art Show will be on view at the Park Avenue Armory, New York from Thursday, February 27 through Sunday, March 1, 2020. A ticketed Gala Preview will take place on Wednesday evening, February 26.

Recognized as one of the most visionary figures in postwar American art, Sam Gilliam has experimented with a wide variety of painting supports for over sixty years. The Drape and Beveled-edge works that began to emerge in the late 1960s revolutionized ideas of what painting could be, connecting the medium to its ancient beginnings and positing a future that activated the experience of the viewer in entirely new ways. From the beginning of his career, Gilliam has used paper, often at large scale, to produce ambitious works filled with prismatic color, abstract forms, and organic compositions that arise directly from the interactions between his materials.

These newest paintings on paper, all made within the last year and measuring six feet tall, demonstrate the symphonic array of effects and textures Gilliam can achieve. Forgoing the use of brushes and continuing his lifelong engagement with the improvisatory spirit of jazz, he folds and soaks sheets of hand-processed washi paper in watercolor and acrylic paints. Fold lines become visual anchors for complex instances of mirroring and chiaroscuro, with light and dark tones juxtaposed to create illusions of dimensional relief. The range of associations these paintings evoke in the mind and eye is as varied as nature itself. Some are lapidary, brooding, and introspective; others are charged with intense gestural energy and bear splattered traces of pigment; still others are luminous and radiant, recalling Gilliam’s formative connection to the Washington Color School. Each is the work of a master operating irreverently and without compromise.

In 2022, Sam Gilliam (b. 1933, Tupelo, Mississippi; lives and works in Washington, D.C.) will be the subject of a career-spanning retrospective exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. In addition to a long-term solo show that opened last year at Dia:Beacon, New York, a solo survey exhibition at Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018), and a traveling retrospective organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2005), he has also presented solo shows at the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (2011); the Speed Memorial Museum, Louisville, Kentucky (1996); the Whitney Museum of American Art, Philip Morris Branch, New York (1993); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (1982); and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1971), among many other institutions. Recent group exhibitions include Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983, which originated at the Tate Modern (2017), traveled to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (2018), the Brooklyn Museum (2018), and The Broad, Los Angeles (2019), and is currently on view at the de Young Museum, San Francisco (through March 15, 2020); Viva Arte Viva, 57th Venice Biennale (2017); Not New Now, Marrakech Biennale 6, Morocco (2016); and Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties, Brooklyn Museum, New York (2014). Gilliam’s work is included in over fifty public collections, including those of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; Tate Modern, London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.