Sam Gilliam After receiving his masters in painting at the University of Louisville in 1961, Sam Gilliam headed to Washington D.C., to join the ranks of the Washington Color Field painters. The politically charged atmosphere of the early ’60s pushed black artists to explore their limits. Around 1965, Gilliam introduced his now famous technique of eliminating canvas supports on his paintings. Draping, hanging, and otherwise arranging his paintings lends real three dimensionality to his art. As an Abstract Color Field painter, Gilliam creates works which pull the eye in and around the canvas – loud, rushing colors all jostling for attention. His work evolved in the 1970s and 1980s, focusing more on the black experience in America. He transitioned to geometric collages reminiscent of patchwork quilts. His evolution continues as he began incorporating metal forms into his works, again playing on the relationship between 2D and 3D. Gilliam is one of the most innovative American printmakers. Just as his paintings push the boundaries of that medium, Gilliam is constantly exploring new, creative printmaking techniques on a variety of papers. This Marathon series has a wonderful jewel-like surface of explosive color but each color variation has the same unifying white relief pattern overlaying it. The texture and heft of the fine handmade paper adds an additional extra dimension. Most major American museums own works by Gilliam as do a number of international institutions including the Tate Modern in London.