Overview
"I'm more interested in seeing what the material tells me than in imposing my will on it."

John Chamberlain (Rochester, Indiana, 1927 – New York, 2011) was an American sculptor. His groundbreaking sculptures – fashioned from discarded materials such as automotive metal, urethane foam, galvanized steel, paper, and Plexiglas – translate the visual language of the Abstract Expressionists into three-dimensional constructions. Alongside his unique choice of mediums, his works often use bright colors and monumental proportions, breaking many established conventions for sculpture and redefining it into passionate expression. The twisting, dynamic rhythms of Chamberlain’s works are unhindered by the industrial materials comprising them; they transform traditionally lifeless and rigid materials into fluid expressions of life and joy. His first sculpture using automotive metal (Shortstop, 1957) ignited his fascination with bright colors, deep folds, and the use of discarded metal that define his work. During his time at North Carolina’s Black Mountain College in the mid-1950s, Chamberlain developed a strong appreciation for poetry, which he intentionally translated into the visual language of his sculptures. His works bear witness to American industrial culture in a uniquely joyful manner, inviting viewers to reconsider our sentiments about materials we would otherwise overlook or disregard. Credited with “feminizing” modern sculpture, the unexpected harmony and elegance of John Chamberlain’s works has redefined the boundaries of what industrial materials can do, creating works of immense beauty and joy.

Works
  • John Chamberlain, Once Again Watson, 2001
    John Chamberlain
    Once Again Watson, 2001
    Painted metal
    37 x 52 3/8 x 28 3/8 in (94 x 133 x 72 cm)
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