Vance Kirkland (1904-1981) was a mysterious, visionary Colorado painter who came from Ohio to become founding Director of the University of Denver School of Art in 1929. Kirkland stayed and painted in Denver for 53 years until his death, becoming one of the most important Colorado painters. He created five major painting periods of Designed Realism (1926-1944), Surrealism (1939-1954), Abstractions From Nature (1947-1957), Abstract Expressionism (1950-1964), and The Dot Paintings (1963-1981).
Long before the 1957 Sputnik Satellite, the Apollo moonwalk and the Hubble Telescope, Kirkland portrayed far away galaxies and nebulae. His space environments, from the last half of his career, are not something seen through a telescope; they are brilliant abstractions of the ideas of energy, vast distances, long durations of time, and mysteries of outer space. Kirkland commented: ￢ﾀﾜThe paintings may suggest ideas of time and space. I think a great deal about what could have happened and how little we know about the universe in which we live, and the fragment of time that can be called known history of this earth.