(1919 - 1998)
Lee Mullican was active/lived in California, Oklahoma. Lee Mullican is known for non objective and figurative abstract imagery-luminous.
Biography from Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery (Artists I-Q)
Reared in the Midwestern suburb of Chickasha, Oklahoma, Lee Mullican
was born on December 2, 1919 to Harris Nichols Mullican (1884-1972) and
Zula Jolley Mullican (1887-1974). Introduced to art by his
mother, an amateur painter, Mullican's first attempt at painting came
with the aid of her art supplies at the age of 15. Satisfying the
wishes of his father, he initially enrolled at Abilene Christian
College for two years before transferring to the University of Oklahoma
for a year. Here he established his first off-campus studio --
followed by a brief enrollment at Kansas City Art Institute.
Biography from Levis Fine Art
After being drafted into the US Army corps of engineers in
1941, he attended topographic school in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia before
being stationed in Hawaii and eventually Japan. With an abundance
of available drawing supplies, access to internationally renowned
museums, and the influence of art publications such as Wolfgang
Paalen's Dyn, Mullican used his considerable spare time during the war to foster artistic development.
Mullican was invited to San Francisco in 1946 by Jack
Stauffacher, a printer whom he had befriended during the war.
Here, he devoted most of his time to drawing and, when finances
permitted, painting. A Mullican painting hanging in Stauffacher's
printing studio was discovered by the former British Surrealist Gordon
Onslow Ford. Immediately taking him under his wing, Onslow Ford
introduced Mullican to the members of the San Francisco art community,
including Wolfgang Paalen and his wife Luchita Hurtado.
Mullican, Paalen, and Onslow Ford quickly formed a collaborative
artistic circle, culminating with the exhibition Dynaton in 1951.
Paalen and his wife already divorced by this point, Mullican and
Luchita Hurtado began a relationship and moved to Los Angeles after the
birth of their son. They subsequently married in 1954.
While basing his career mostly in Santa Monica, Mullican traveled
alongside his family on multiple occasions. After spending three
years (1955-58) in Sao Paulo, Brazil on an artist exchange program, he
received the Guggenheim Fellowship and set up studio in Rome for a year
(1959-60). Until his death on July 8, 1998, Mullican worked
predominantly in the Los Angeles area, consistently exhibiting while
holding a teaching position at UCLA.
Reluctant to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors and the current art world trends, Lee Mullican, a California artist, worked steadfastly in the Los Angeles area for most of his career, teaching, painting and quietly exhibiting.
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Mullican's style is drawn from a variety of sources, most importantly, his position in the army as an aerial topographer in the early 1940's. "The process of ingraining shapes and patterns from a bird's-eye perspective eventually cultivated Mullican's pre-existing appreciation for naturalistic forms and abstract patterns and later became his signature style". His paintings represent the juxtaposition between the natural, chaotic world, the linear, scientific one and the mystic elements of ancient cultures.
In addition to studying under prominent Surrealist Gordon Onslow Ford and local artist Wolfgang Paalen, Mullican won the Guggenheim Fellowship, allowing him to study in Rome in 1959. His works remain in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian, MoMA in both Paris and New York City, the San Francisco Museum of Art and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
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