Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Color Field Painting & The Work of Sam Gilliam

In the Contemporary Art Seminar course I am taking now, I recently learned about an art movement that I hadn't heard of before: The Color Field Movement. It started in the 1950s after Jackson Pollack died. Willem de Kooning became the biggest name in Abstract Expressionism and an emerging artist at the time named Mark Rothko pioneered Color Field painting to resist influence from Kooning.

The blocks of pure color without any representation of anything "real" is what I like. Here are some of my faves:

Morris Louis, "Alphia Pi" 1960

William T. Williams, "Trane" 1969

Sam Gilliam, "Ionesque" 1965
Within the Color Field Movement emerged a Black man from Mississippi named Sam Gilliam. Gilliam received his B.A. in fine art and his M.A. in painting from the University of Louisville in Kentucky.  He was the first to remove paintings from the boundaries of the canvas frame. He was inspired to do this by observing laundry hanging outside his Washington studio. His drape paintings were suspended from ceilings, arranged on walls or floors, and they represent a sculptural, third dimension in painting. Gilliam states that his paintings are based on the fact that the framework of the painting is in real space. Gilliam's draped canvases change in each environment they are arranged in and frequently he embellishes the works with metal, rocks, and wooden beams.
Sam Gilliam in W Magazine last month

Sam Gilliam

Sam Gilliam

Sam Gilliam

Because the art I study seeps into my subconscious, I notice how it shows up in my own artwork. I have designed bags inspired by Egyptian hieroglyphics, Abstract Expressionism, and most recently, over the weekend, I painted canvas seats and added leather patches; inspired by the Color Field Movement.

Color Field benches by Terina Nicole
My Color Field inspired benches

Hieroglyphics clutch by Terina Nicole
My Egyptian Hieroglyphics-inspired clutch

Abstract Expressionist upcycled hobo bag by Terina Nicole
My Abstract Expressionist-inspired hobo bag

Does art history seep into your work or style? 

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