Bucket List: Experience Space From The Eyes of Vance Kirkland

Next up, the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art will celebrate its 20th anniversary this month by showcasing Vance Kirkland’s Cosmos from Feb. 15 – May 28, 2023. Vance Kirkland was one of the most influential and predominant painters of the 20th century across his 55-year career. Come and see his final works of art that focused on outer space and how he interpreted this mystical landscape from his mind.

The Kirkland Museum first became open to the public in 2003. That also happened to be a particular year for the Vance Kirkland foundation, which is a non-profit run by a family friend, Hugh Grant, who is also the curator for Kirkland events and alongside Merle Chambers, who is a founding member of the Kirkland Museum Board of Directors.

Chamber’s influence and support have transformed and continued to change the meaning of Kirkland’s artwork rather than hide it and keep it from the public eye. In 2014, a change was deemed necessary for the museum, which led to its relocation to the Golden Triangle Creative District area of Denver —allowing for a more public appearance around the significant surrounding areas from foot traffic and living.

In 1977, Vance Kirkland said, “I am trying to paint something I do not know exists tangibly. If I look at space, who will say that it never existed? It has existed in my mind.” In 1981, the year Kirkland passed on, his artwork did not. His work lives on today with some of his most extraordinary work from Cosmo’s collection.

Kirkland created five major painting periods with at least 35 series and over 1,200 during his life. The painting periods were Designed Realism, Surrealism, Hard Edge Abstraction, Abstract Expressionism and Dot Paintings.

Deputy Curator Christopher Herron exclaimed, “We’re excited to present this focus on Vance Kirkland’s later work, which will give viewers a better understanding of the depth of creativity and imagination that went into his paintings.” Founding Director & Curator Hugh Grant and Deputy Curator Christoper Herron will curate this exhibition of Kirkland’s work. They are showcasing eight visions from Kirkland’s Cosmos from 1954 to 1981.

The exhibition features a new sub-series of Kirkland’s paintings documented by founding director & curator Hugh Grant, titled Energy of Forms in Space. One of Kirkland’s signature images in his paintings from late 1976 to 1981 is exploding shapes. By 1979, Kirkland started to develop his last series by occasionally creating artwork without explosions. Grant describes the Forms paintings as “charged with manifestations of energy with jets and spurts of energy emanating from their sprawling, complex forms.”

This exhibition will be the first temporary show in 20 years on top of the 20th anniversary. Of all his pieces, the most anticipated are the Vibrant Dot paintings, sharing Kirkland’s more creative side. In order to create such texture, Kirkland used wooden dowels, one at a time. Then used oil paint and water manipulations, making happy accidents with such precision.

Available with Bloomberg Connects throughout the whole exhibition. Not only will you be able to have a walk-thru with this exhibit visually, but you can also have Kirkland himself provide an audio experience on this tour.

More information on Vance Kirkland’s Cosmos can be found here. Tickets can be purchased in person and walk-in visitors are welcome, or purchase tickets online.

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