Alber's ChainArtist(s)Sam GilliamArtist NationalityAmerican (North American)Object Creation Date2008Medium & Supportacrylic on nylonDimensions
242 in x 94 ¼ in (614.68 cm x 239.4 cm);94 ¼ in x 47 ¾ in (239.4 cm x 121.29 cm);94 ¼ in x 242 in (239.4 cm x 614.68 cm)Credit LineGift of Larry and Brenda ThompsonLabel copy
United States, born 1933
Acrylic on nylon
Gift of Larry and Brenda Thompson, 2008/2.308
Sam Gilliam moved to Washington DC in 1962 and subsequently became associated with the group of painters known as the Washington Color School. Part of the greater Color Field movement of the 1950s and 1960s, these artists adopted and extended the soaking and staining techniques of Abstract Expressionist painters like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. Resolutely abstract, Color Field painting is characterized by large areas or “fields” of pure color stained or poured directly onto the canvas.
This emphasis on color saturation is evident in Alber’s Chain, one of Gilliam’s “drape” paintings, which he has made since the late 1960s. While these works highlight the artist’s interest in materials, process, and the expressive power of color, they also move beyond the traditional two-dimensional boundaries of modernist painting. In a radical move, Gilliam decided to remove the stretcher bar. The voluminous, richly hued fabric is attached directly to the wall, innovatively blurring the line between painting, sculpture, and architecture as it moves into the shared space of the viewer.
Multi-colored fabric pieces hung loosely together in a horizontal format. Colors include red, orange, blue, green, black, purple, pink and various other combinations of these colors.Primary Object Classification Painting Primary Object TypeabstractAdditional Object Classification(s)Mixed MediaCollection AreaModern and ContemporaryRights
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