The inaugural exhibition in Pace’s new space in Seoul will be devoted to Sam Gilliam, widely considered one of the great innovators in postwar American painting. The exhibition runs from 27 May through July 10.
Gilliam emerged from the Washington, D.C. scene in the mid-1960s with works that elaborated upon and disrupted the ethos of Color Field painting and expanded the opportunities of Abstract Expressionism. Inspired by his activism and always an aficionado of American jazz music, he extended the possibilities of picture making in a society undergoing dramatic change.
The Seoul exhibition comprises a series of nine new paintings that continue Gilliam’s signature beveled-edge canvases. However, in his recent work, radical change occurs with the introduction of new materials and techniques. In his layering process, he builds up surfaces by draping thin layers of fabric with densely mixed pigment that may contain sawdust and other detritus from the studio floor. Like an archaeologist, he then digs into the surfaces to reveal layers of color glowing below like fire coming through volcanic ash. Always an alchemist, Gilliam’s paintings take us to a new concept of space as form.
Following its presentation in Seoul, the exhibition will tour to Pace’s space in the H Queen’s building in Hong Kong in July 2021. In spring 2022, the first American museum retrospective of Gilliam’s work in more than 15 years will open at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. The second exhibition at Pace’s new Seoul space will be dedicated to the American titan of sculpture, Joel Shapiro.