Jersey City, NJ
This exhibition showcases 70 works, ranging between 1989 and 2002. Known primarily for his sculptures, Chamberlain actively experimented in all mediums, including painting, film, and photography. He once referred to these works as “self-portraits of the nervous system,” using the camera more as an extension of his body than of his mind’s eye. “In these scenes,” explains Wiley, “He is an active participant, instead of merely a voyeur.”
Chamberlain’s technique is intuitive. He would get comfortable, and hold up the camera close to his body and move in order to absorb as much as possible in one image, without looking through the lens. “This method of capturing a scene is reminiscent of the automatic drawing of the Surrealists, and later of Willem de Kooning’s ‘blind’ drawings,” explains Wiley. “The alternating hard and soft focus displayed in most of the photographs also mirrors the distorted visual play of the reflective surfaces that abound in many of the artist’s painted steel and chrome plated works.” Many of these are self-portraits, at times displaying more than one facial image captured by his movements and the lens at once.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.