ArtworksThumbnails
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LEE MULLICAN
Meditation on the Vertical
1962
Oil on canvas
75 x 75 in.
 

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LEE MULLICAN
Vox Angelarum
1962
Oil on canvas
75 x 75 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
Transfigured Night
1962
Oil on canvas
75 x 75 in.
 

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LEE MULLICAN
The Arrival of the Quetzalcoatl
1963
Oil on canvas
60 x 50 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
Meditations on a Jazz Passage
1964
Oil on canvas
75 x 75 in. 

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LEE MULLICAN
Wedding Dance
1964
Mixed media
24 x 18 in.
 

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LEE MULLICAN
Wedding Party
1964
Mixed media
24 1/2 x 20 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
Sounds and Stains
1962 
Oil on canvas
50 x 35 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
Untitled
1965
Oil on canvas
75 x 100 in.
 

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LEE MULLICAN
Untitled
1965 
Mixed media on paper
24 x 18 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
Untitled
1967 
Ink on paper
18 x 23 3/4 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
Spring Breaks
1968 
Pencil and ink on paper
24 x 19 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
A Path To Be Taken
1967 
Ink on paper
29 x 23 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
Meditations on a Landscape
1962
Oil on canvas
36 x 90 in. 

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LEE MULLICAN
Battleground
1957
Oil on canvas
50 x 40 in.

 

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LEE MULLICAN
Untitled
1957
Oil on canvas
50 x 40 in.

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LEE MULLICAN 
Thermal Shadow
1957
Oil on canvas
42 x 28 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
Run 
1957
Oil on canvas 
42 1/2 x 32 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
Caravan to the Sun
1957 
Oil on canvas
50 x 40 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
Traveler
1952
Oil on canvas
8 x 10 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
The Seated Navy
1952
Oil on canvas
8 x 10 in. 

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LEE MULLICAN
Specter on New Sun
1949 
Oil on board
30 x 20 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
He-Rain
1949 
Oil on canvas
16 x 20 in.

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LEE MULLICAN
Premiere Mirage
1949 
Oil on canvas
20 x 16 in.

Artist BioDownload Bio English PDF
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LEE MULLICAN, Vox Angelarum, 1962, Oil on canvas, 75 x 75 in. 

The late California artist Lee Mullican’s  paintings are a uniquely West Coast exploration into abstraction; one that is grounded in content, full of mysticism and connections to the transcendent. Mullican describes, “We were involved with a kind of meditation, and for me this had a great deal to do with the study of nature, and the study of pattern…We were dealing with art as a way of meditation.”  This outlook was in contrast to the heroic, action-driven work being made by his contemporaries, the New York School of Abstract Expressionists, on the east coast.

 

His productive sixty-year career was launched in San Francisco as one of three artists who identified as the Dynaton Group. Through a chance meeting, he became close to Gordon Onslow Ford and later met the Surrealist painter, Wolfgang Paalen, who had published the influential Dyn Magazine. Their shared interests culminated in the seminal Dynaton exhibition at San Francisco Museum of Art in 1951

 

 
Always a seeker, Mullican culled influences from a wide range including his job as a topographer during WWII from which he developed the mapmaker’s bird’s-eye perspective, to Surrealism’s automatism, to Zen Buddism and later from his studies of the tantric art of India, finding a kinship with the conflation of concepts of outer and inner-space. 
 

Through a close exploration of nature and the prehistoric past, Mullican focused on finding new meanings through formal problems of composition, color and mark making. He created a unique method of applying paint to the canvas with the thin edge of a printer’s knife, building up the surface with textured, fine lines--a technique he referred to as striation.

 

Lee Mullican was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma in 1919 and died in Los Angeles in 1998. He attended the Kansas City Art Institute after transferring from the University of Oklahoma in 1941. Upon his graduation from the Institute in 1942, Mullican was drafted into the army, serving for four years as a topographical draughtsman. Mullican traveled to Hawaii, Guam and Japan before ending his tenure in the army in 1946, when he moved to San Francisco. After winning a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 1959, he spent a year painting in Rome before returning to Los Angeles where he joined the teaching staff of the UCLA Art Department in 1961, keeping his position for nearly 30 years. He divided the later part of his life between his homes in Los Angeles and Taos, traveling internationally and co- organizing exhibitions at UCLA. Mullican’s works are included in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as in numerous other institutions.

Exhibitions
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Gallery Exhibition
Lee Mullican
533 W26 ST | MAY 14 - JUNE 18
New York
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Gallery Exhibition
Shatter Special
OCT 2015 - NOV. 2015
Other
Press / Media
Articles / Reviews
Artforum
"Best of 2016," by Michael Ned Holte
Articles / Reviews
artcritical
"Western Influence: Lee Mullican's Californian Abstraction," by Saul Ostrow
Articles / Reviews
Hyperallergic
"Restless and Rigid," by John Yau
Articles / Reviews
The Wall Street Journal
"Eastern Influence," by Peter Plagens
Articles / Reviews
The Los Angeles Times
"Lee Mullican's colors crackle with energy," by David Pagel
Articles / Reviews
Artforum
"Lee Mullican," by Annie Buckley
Articles / Reviews
The New York Times
"Lee Mullican's Countercultural Vision at the Grey Gallery," by Roberta Smith
Articles / Reviews
The Los Angeles Times
"Lee Mullican: a Modernist whose sun rose in the West," by Christopher Knight
Articles / Reviews
The Los Angeles Times
"Taking the Long View," by Christopher Knight
News
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