Liberated from its stretcher, Carousel State (1968) explores the material and chromatic possibilities of canvas, a traditional painting support. Gilliam developed his unique approach in the 1960s while working with the Washington Color School, whose compositions emphasized the flatness of the picture plane. This is an early example of the artist’s signature ‘Drape Paintings,” made through a novel process of dripping, smearing, staining, and splashing paint onto raw canvas.
Colors often spread and merged as Gilliam pressed and folded the fabric. He has described this as a kind of equilibrium: “This liquidity of the colors is reinforced by the fluidity of the canvas.” The final step in the creation of Carousel State is its installation, suspended and extending into space.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.