Sam Gilliam is an Abstract Expressionist painter who has consistently pushed the boundaries throughout his long and prolific career. With his work he relentlessly tests the boundaries of color, form, texture, and the canvas itself. Moving beyond conventional painting, Gilliam became known for his sculpture-painting hybrids in the late 1960s when he began removing his canvases from the stretcher and draping them across walls and from ceilings.
Gilliam was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1933, and grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Louisville, and after serving in the Army upon graduating, he returned to the University for his Master of Arts Degree. In 1962 Gilliam moved to Washington, D.C, where he became a key figure as part of the Washington Color School. Gilliam had his first solo museum exhibition at The Phillips Collection in 1967. Following this show, Gilliam exhibited with numerous galleries and museums across the country and abroad, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, and the David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.