Though predominantly known as a painter, Sam Gilliam’s improvisational work focuses on color in many media. In 1962, he moved from his hometown of Louisvilleto Washington D.C. It was here that he came into the circle of the Washington Color School, along with Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and Gene Davis.
Sam Gilliam's painterly abstraction concerns itself with saturated color and a highly spontaneous technique. During the late 1960's Gilliam's interest in the flexible properties of canvas led to his innovative manipulations of both canvas and paper and a series of work which were created and subsequently hung or suspended without traditional stretcher supports.
Gilliam's explorations in the areas of printmaking have been equally dramatic and have included the use of handmade papers and paper pulp, dyes, and paints combined with a combination of stitching, flocking, embossing, collage, and screen-print techniques.