Light Fan has the feel of an image seen from space—a sunrise observed from an orbiting capsule through a window struck by a ray of light—or the blue and green depths of an ocean giving way to sun-warmed shallows. The effect is diaphanous; color has bled in irregular pools as the tidal pull of capillary action moved wet pigment around a field of color on a finely woven fabric. Edges freely shift in a way that is both accidental and controlled.

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  • Title: Light Fan
  • Creator: Sam Gilliam
  • Date Created: 1966
  • Physical Dimensions: 36 1/4 x 36 in. (92/1 x 91.4 cm)
  • Credit Line: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Woodward Foundation
  • Artist: Born Tupelo, MS 1933
  • Medium: acrylic on canvas