Gommaar Gilliams was born in 1982 in Lier, Belgium. Graduating in visual arts from LUCA School of Arts in Brussels and having a Masters degree in Painting from PXL College in Hasselt, his large-scale paintings and textural wall hangings fuse American Abstract Expressionism with figurative elements derived from Middle Eastern to European symbolism.
Although influenced by traditional figurative art and primitive fragments, Gilliams’ abstract and gestural style results in work that reintroduces the subject without detracting from the painting itself.
Gilliams’ creative process starts from figurative photographs and images, but he processes them into an intuitive flow that ultimately leaves nothing recognizable of these images. For Gilliams, the act and the gesture are key, through which the motives are reinterpreted and worked out in an abstract way.
His work reminds of the early work of Cy Twombly, where he, for example, famously elaborated floral into striking writings. However, the paintings and works on paper by Gilliams’ (in acrylic, wax crayon, pencil, or chalk) are exuberant, with a fresh and organic feel to it. Particularly striking is their scale and the subtle balance between colors, lines, streaks and surfaces, resulting in a strong dynamic. The themes explored in his work series are often related to youth, melancholy, and dreamy longing.
Gilliams’ work has been shown mainly in Belgium and Europe. In 2015 his mentor, Koen Van den Broeck, organized a critically acclaimed group exhibition titled Trash. Gilliams has been honored with several awards and his work is included in many private and public collections.
Gommaar Gilliams currently lives and works in Hasselt, Belgium.