Sam Gilliam (b. 1933) Northwest Wind, 1992 Acrylic on synthetic fabric, mounted on wood 30 × 63 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of Mr. Darrell Walker 2002.10.1
Sam Gilliam is best known for his drape paintings, consisting of large swaths of unstretched canvas stained with paint, in which color merges with the weave of the fabric. Northwest Wind continues the line of inquiry around color and surface found in Gilliam’s earlier work but in a more traditional stretched-canvas format. Here, the colorful, intersecting layers of paint raked across the surface create an alternative weave, independent of the canvas’s, to describe a new textile that folds and shifts across the surface.