Vance Kirkland American Painter, 1904-1981
Vance Kirkland Dots - Dots and more dots
His earliest dotted paintings of 1963-66 were created by dropping discrete quantities of paint from various distances so they would spread to form imperfect circles. • He flung his paint in such a way that it splattered to form discs of color. • The artist himself called his work discs or circles, but he accepted the word dots to describe his paintings. Painting number 10 ~ 1964
later “DOT” WORK became very controlled dot patterns 1970--1971
Kirkland was only 5'3" and his paintings were so large that he could not reach the center of the paintings from the sides of his worktable. So he suspended himself above. • Setting above the paintings enabled Kirkland to, in a sense, submerge himself in the creation of his works. • The techniques he developed required his canvas to be laid flat on a table top so that he, and not gravity, could control the flow of the paint. • He poured and spooned the mixtures from baby-food jars and moved them with rags, mopping up the water when it had deposited the paint just where he wanted it. • He placed each dot with a wooden dowel, dipped once in color and dabbed two, maybe three times before it required a refill.
Sadly, Kirkland was never photographed at work in his straps. His assistants staged and photographed a re-creation of the scene using fresher and narrower nylon slings to help us imagine the artist at work. Everyone who sees those now-empty straps must wonder, if just for a second, what it feels like to fly with a paint-loaded brush or dowel in their hand.
Kirkland floated mixtures of oil paint & water to onto the canvas ~ then added dots of different sizes and colors meticulously on the painting using wooden dowels
Vance Kirkland first arrived in Denver at the age of twenty-four in 1929, when he became the founding director of the Art School at the University of Denver; after graduating from Cleveland Institute of Art . He stayed at the school until 1932, when he got into a dispute with the university. They weren’t willing to give BFAs to the art students.
He instead opened the Kirkland School of Art. The first art school in Denver. Kirkland worked with University of Colorado in Denver to exchange classes with CU. Art students at Kirkland’s school then could apply their credits towards a university degree. Kirkland School of Art did so well that Kirkland was rehired in 1946. Kirkland eventually returned to the University of Denver (DU) as head of the art school and chairman of the arts & humanities dept. Kirkland remained until 1969.
"The Dot Paintings"/Energy in Space Abstractions 1980 Final painting- Kirkland died the next year- 1981