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Sam Gilliam

"A" and the Carpenter I, 1973

Acrylic and canvas draped over wooden sawhorses

<p>In the early 1960s Sam Gilliam began to experiment with brushless painting—staining or dying his canvases rather than applying paint more traditionally, a technique associated at the time with Color Field painting. By the end of the decade he broke with tradition in another way, abandoning the taut, stretched canvas of typical easel painting to treat his canvases sculpturally—bunching, folding, or draping them in space. The fluidity of the cloth seems to echo the fluidity of the paint, and vice versa. A quintessential work like <em>“A” and the Carpenter I</em> is a painting on a grand scale and yet, like a stained drop cloth slung across two sawhorses, it summons the residues of an artist’s studio, or even the remainders of another kind of work site.</p>