Dominic Chambers: Leave Room for the Wind 4th January – 3rd of February, 2024 Lehmann Maupin 501 West 24th Street New York, NY 10011
Dominic Chambers; lives and works in New Haven, CT creates vibrant paintings that simultaneously engage art historical models, such as colour-field painting and gestural abstraction, and contemporary concerns around race, identity, and the necessity for leisure and reflection. Interested in how art can function as a mode for understanding, recontextualizing, or renegotiating one’s relationship with the world, the artist sees painting as a critical and intellectual endeavour as much as an aesthetic one.
A writer himself, Chambers draws inspiration from literature, especially Magical Realism and the writing of W.E.B. Du Bois, particularly Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, and one of its central themes―the veil.
A product of racial injustice that is a metaphorical lens through which Black bodies are observed and experienced, references to the veil appear throughout the artist’s work, whether in the large swaths of color that obscure the figures in his Wash Paintings series, or in his recurring use of a raindrop motif as both an active and passive element in his paintings. Many of Chambers’ compositions incorporate Fabulist elements, including ghostly silhouettes meant to be stand-ins for the artist and surreal landscapes that feel both familiar yet unplaceable.
Chambers’ most recent bodies of work feature his friends and acquaintances engaged in acts of leisure and contemplation. “Too often, the Black body has been located in our imaginations as one incapable of rest,” the artist explains, “often when we imagine what the Black body is doing it is usually an act of labor, rebellion, or resistance.” In his Primary Magic and After Albers series, Chambers sought to remove these associations. His subjects are depicted reading or lost in thought, their gaze fixed on points that seem far beyond the realm of the picture plane.
Locating his figures in shifting, monochromatic dreamscapes, Chambers suggests the mutability of our environment, and his scenes evoke the sensation of losing oneself in a good book or moment of quiet reflection. The artist sees color as a protagonist in his paintings―as important to unlocking their meaning as his subjects. Chambers’ deft manipulation of the tension and interplay between contrasting colors gives his work a subtle electric charge, while his eye for balance imbues each piece with a particular poetic harmony.
Dominic Chambers: Leave Room for the Wind opens on the 4th of January until the 3rd of February , 2024 at Lehmann Maupin
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