The Art and Culture Program at Denver International Airport was pleased to present Time and Space, a painting exhibition for passengers and airport visitors. The exhibition featured four paintings by the late Denver-based artist, Vance Kirkland. The paintings were on generous loan from the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in Denver.
All four works used oil paint mixed with water, one of Kirkland’s signature painting techniques. Two of the pieces also showed his next evolution of using dowels to apply dots of different sizes once the oil paint and water have dried for his final painting style. These works represented an imaginary version of space. Kirkland said, “The paintings may suggest ideas of time and space... I am trying to paint something I do not know exists in a tangible way. If I am looking at space, who is going to say it never existed: It has existed in my mind.”
Vance Kirkland (1904-1981) was born in Convoy, Ohio in 1904. He received his art schooling at the Cleveland Institute of Art. He is remembered for his position as founding director of the Art School at the University of Denver. Kirkland was among the most important Colorado painters of the twentieth century. His work can be generally divided into five major periods, beginning in the 1920s with realist watercolor paintings and evolving into his greatest works — abstractions created with his signature oil paint and water technique — and the Dot Paintings. With the success of a European exhibition tour, he has posthumously gained international recognition. Kirkland's alchemic techniques and ingenious use of color showcase his avant-garde attitude and style.
Kirkland’s studio workroom is now on view as part of Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in Denver. In addition to a retrospective of Kirkland’s career, the museum displays artwork by over 170 other Colorado artists as well as over 3,500 examples of international decorative art from every major design period from Arts & Crafts to Postmodern. The museum recently announced plans to build a new facility and relocate the original Vance Kirkland Studio to the Golden Triangle Art District in Denver and is slated for completion by late 2016 to early 2017.