At Thursday night’s in-gallery conversation with painter Sam Gilliam, curator Renee Maurer asked the artist what works in the Phillips inspired him. He smiled and answered, “Well, there are those magnolia trees in front of the museum.”
Throughout the talk, it occurred to me that Mr. Gilliam cited experiences in nature as artistic sources almost as frequently as he did artworks, such as Kenneth Noland’s April (1960) and Georges Braque’s The Shower (1952).
I can understand why the museum’s tulip magnolia trees are a source of inspiration for Gilliam. Each spring I eagerly anticipate the day that the pale pink blooms will burst forth and announce the arrival of a new season. To me, those trees directly mirror the movement, texture, and colorful monumentality of his installation.
Amanda Jiron-Murphy, In-Gallery Interpretation and Public Programs Coordinator