Chambers sits in front of the 48″ x 72″ canvas in his studio in October 2020.
October 25, 2020 – After the success of “Experimentally Ill”, Chambers’ next project is to be his most ambitious to date. Plans are underway for a 48″ x 72” painting (his largest canvas to date) to be completed over a 365-day period. The painting is to be called “Unearthing”.
“I usually work very quickly and finish a painting in just a few days but I rather like the idea of taking my time and working on one painting every day for an entire year. It will be a challenge and I’m interested to see what I come up with after 365 straight days of work.”
“I’m inspired by the 1950s New York abstract expressionist painters Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock,” said Chambers. “In 1950, deKooning worked on his masterpiece “Excavation”, his largest canvas ever at 81″ x 101″, for months and the painting went through many different incarnations before it was completed. In 1952, Pollock completed “Convergence”, a 93.5″ × 155″ canvas, made with his famous technique of dripping and pouring paint onto a canvas.”
Chambers will begin work on October 31, 2020 and finish October 30, 2021 using a stream of consciousness approach to depict the thoughts and feelings passing through his mind each day as he works on the painting over the course of one year. “Some days I’ll work for hours, some days I’ll only work for 20 minutes,” says Chambers.
A look at “Unearthing” in November 2020.
A photo of “Unearthing” after the first of 365 days of work.
UPDATED: October 31, 2020 – Work began on the 48″ x 72″ painting “Unearthing” on Saturday, October 31, 2020.
With 364 days to go, Chambers chose to use light brown, naples yellow and white for his underpainting. In painting, an underpainting is a first layer of paint applied to the canvas and it functions as a base for other layers of paint.
This layer will create backlighting shadows that will tone the entire painting and provide contrast for complimentary colors.
“I have no concept in mind – I have no idea what it will look like when finished,” says Chambers. “That’s what’s exciting for me about this piece – whatever happens, happens. I’m taking my time, going with the flow and seeing what develops over time.”
Embracing the elements of chance has always been a part of Chambers’ style – one that he finds very rewarding.
“I am literally going to throw paint at the canvas and see what appears,” says Chambers.
A small cropped section of “Unearthing” after five months of work at the beginning of April 2021.
UPDATED: April 7, 2021 – Work continues on the 365-day 48″ x 72″ painting “Unearthing”. With seven months of work ahead, Chambers is pleased with his progress on the massive painting.
“It’s actually almost finished,” says Chambers. “There is a central figure in the piece and most of the upcoming work will be on it. I’ll work on ‘him’ through the summer and then do touch up work and tweek the painting into September and October.”
Not wanting to spoil the surprise, Chambers has posted a small glimpse of the work in progress after five months of work.
“I will say that Pollock and de Kooning were on my mind when I started and I’m only using two main colors (naples yellow and cerulean blue) along with white and black enamel paint bought at a hardware store,” says Chambers. “There are also very small patches and highlights in cadmium red and lemon yellow – but very small, almost unnoticeable, but they’re there.”
1. find (something) in the ground by digging.
2. discover (something hidden, lost, or kept secret) by investigation or searching.
Is our mystery figure finding something by digging? Is the viewer discovering something about themselves by searching for the answer? Or is Chambers saying he has discovered something about himself within the naples yellow dirt? Or all of the above?
UPDATED: October 30, 2021 – The 365-day 48″ x 72″ painting “Unearthing” is finished. It sold to a private collector within two hours of being shown online.
“COALESCENSE” SELECTED FOR EXHIBITION
“Coalescence” (2021), 36×48, acrylic on canvas
September 17, 2021 – “Coalescence”, one of Chambers’ abstract expressionist paintings in his “Synthesis” series, has been selected as one of the entries in the Rehoboth Art League‘s “Abstract Landscape” exhibition taking place at the historic Peter Marsh Homestead from October 1 through October 31, 2021.
Opening reception: Friday, October 1, 2021 (5:00pm-7:00pm)
“This is my first public exhibition and I’m very excited to say the least,” said Chambers. “The selected painting, ‘Coalescence’ is one of my favorites and I’m very pleased that it was accepted into the exhibition.
The show is a juried exhibition and the juror was Brooke Rogers, a painter and teacher from Ocean City, MD. The theme of the show listed on theartcall.org website states:
The method of abstract landscape painting can involve a great deal of creative expression either by altering scenery that exists in real life or by creating an imagined setting. The abstraction can be done without any symbolic significance or the abstraction can represent an idea and express the artists’ inner emotions and feelings.
“I’ve always felt that ‘Coalescence’ would look great in a home at the beach,” said Chambers. “For it to hang inside the historic Marsh Homestead is just incredible.”
The RAF Peter Marsh Homestead at located at 12 Dodds Lane, Rehoboth Beach. “Coalescence” will be available for purchase for $500.
THE GNARLY SIGHT
“The Gnarly Sight” (2021) 24×36, acrylic on canvas
August 28, 2021 – “Vincent van Gogh is my favorite painter of all time and ‘The Starry Night’ is my favorite painting of all time, so this was an honor, a privilege and a labor of love,” said Chambers.
Chambers was commissioned to paint his own version of van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’ in early-August.
“I think you can see my graphic design training in the finished painting as it’s a bit more stylized than Vincent’s,” said Chambers. “I wanted to keep the same spirit, the same energy, but bring it into the 21st century and give it a more modern look.”
The commission was for a 24×36″ piece requesting the inclusion of Asbury Methodist Church, a landmark in Chambers’ hometown, at the bottom replacing Vincent’s original church.
“I enjoyed working on this piece over the course of a few weeks,” Chambers remarked. “There are thousands of individual brushstrokes in the painting and the paint was applied very thick on the canvas. I don’t want to say I was channeling Vincent while doing this piece but it did almost feel like that at times. I love Vincent’s style, his vision, his techniques and his most famous painting.”
“I’d encourage every art student to do a painting like this as an exercise. Pick an artist and try to recreate one of their paintings in the same style. It’s a wonderful way to learn.”
“Megapolis” (2021), 48×72, diptych, acrylic on canvas.
August 15, 2021 – The “Synthesis” series started with a journey to “Cosmopolis” and it’s ending with a long stay at “Megapolis”.
“Megapolis” is a 48″ x 72″ diptych done as a colorful companion piece to the other aforementioned diptych. Together, they bookend the 27-piece “Synthesis” series.
“When you’re doing these large series, it does begin to feel like a journey”, said Chambers. “You start at Point A, finish at Point B and what you paint in between is the journey. It’s kind of like a walkabout where you don’t know where you’re going, you just wander around and capture what you see as you go – like photographs.”
“Megapolis” once again features colors in motion, however, this time the fields of color seem to be brighter but more frantic, more unstable.
“The painting doesn’t represent a thing or an experience – it is the thing, it is the experience,” said Chambers.
Chambers could not have known where he was going but when he did finally arrive in “Megapolis” he had the colors he needed to live there as well as the need for a long rest after an even longer journey.
IMMERSED IN VAN GOGH
August 3, 2021 – “Yesterday I had the pleasure of going to the Immersive Van Gogh NYC exhibit in New York City,” said Chambers on Facebook. “It’s an incredible experience, a wonderful tribute and I encourage everyone to go see this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit.”
Immersive Van Gogh was created by the world-renowned master of digital art, Italy’s Massimiliano Siccardi, who for thirty years has been pioneering immersive exhibitions in Europe. His magnificent installations have been seen by over 2 million visitors in Paris. With the help of 60,600 frames of video, 90,000,000 pixels, and 500,000+ cubic feet of projections, this captivating digital art exhibit merges state-of-the-art technology, theatrical storytelling, and world-class animation.
“It gives guests the rare opportunity to ‘step inside’ and experience the incredible post-Impressionist works of Van Gogh, my favorite painter, like never before.”
The Immersive Van Gogh exhibit is located at Pier 36 NYC, 299 South Street, New York, NY 10002.
SYNONYMS OF SYNTHESIS
“Combination” (2021) 36×48, acyrlic on canvas
February 14, 2021 – Chambers has begun his 2021 project – “Synthesis”.
Synthesis is the composition or combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole. “Synthesis” will be exactly that. A series of 27 large compositions that contain combinations of dynamic elements that form together to express the emotions of the artist.
The series is Chambers’ first major project. 2020’s “Experimentally Ill” and 2021’s “Abstractvistas” were a series of experiments – “Synthesis” is his first true artistic statement – a series of abstracts done in acrylics, nine sized at 30″x40″ and eighteen sized at 36″x48″.
Chambers plans to bookend the collection starting with his 48″x72″ diptych “Cosmopolis”, the inspiration for these pieces, and ending with another diptych the same size entitled “Megapolis”.
“After completing ‘Cosmopolis’, I knew that was the direction I wanted to pursue,” said Chambers. “I want to do something along the lines of Willem de Kooning’s abstract urban, parkway and pastoral landscapes combined with Barnett Newman’s “zip” paintings and Clyfford Still’s use of juxtaposing different colors…but with more of a cosmic feel.”
Saying “A painter is a choreographer of space,” Barnett Newman invented what he called the “zip,” a band of vertical color.
Work began in February and will continue uninterrupted through August 2021. Each piece will have a title that is a synonym of the word “synthesis”.
“By combining several diverse energetic elements into a coherent forceful whole, I hope to indirectly articulate my feelings and emotions in these pieces,” said Chambers. “As always, the paintings will contain fields of color in motion, but this time the pieces will contain and extra feeling of depth and a sense of altered space.”
WELCOME TO COSMOPOLIS
“Cosmopolis” (2021) diptych, 48×72, acrylic on canvas
January 9, 2021 – Chambers officially welcomes all to his “Cosmopolis”.
“Working on this piece made me realize that this style is what I want to do,” said Chambers. “I really enjoy de Kooning’s large landscape pieces of the late 1950’s and ‘Cosmopolis’ is done in a very similar vein. Critics called it ‘action painting’.”
Action painting is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto large canvases, rather than being carefully applied. The resulting work often emphasizes the physical act of painting itself as an essential aspect of the finished work or concern of its artist. The style was widespread in New York City from the 1940’s until the early 1960’s, and is closely associated with Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, two artists greatly admired by Chambers.
Chambers recently finished the huge 4′ x 6′ diptych using acrylic paints and a simple paint knife.
“To me, it represents a vast colorful city,” said Chambers. “Always in motion and in all directions, the city is like a series of wheels and gears – the people, the buildings, the sky, the ground, the daytime, the nighttime, the past, the present, the future…always in motion. It’s all there on the two canvases.”
“Ship Shape” (2021) 20×30, acrylic on canvas
January 7, 2021 – Chambers is starting off 2021 with a mini series of acrylic abstracts entitled “Abstractvistas”.
Using acrylic paints for the first time since 1985, Chambers is producing colorful, textured abstract paintings depicting landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes.
“Someone pointed out to me recently that I’ve never painted a landscape before,” said Chambers. “So, I accepted the challenge. I’m really enjoying working with acrylics again and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can come up using them, a paint knife and my imagination.”
Work began on the series of ten paintings on New Years Day 2021. Every painting will feature water in some form and all four seasons will be depicted.
“I’ll work on this series during the winter of 2021,” said Chambers. “Because last year was so bad for so many people in so many ways, I wanted to paint scenes of joy and wonder but in my abstract expressionist style.”
The pieces in this series will be small (18×24, 20×24 and 20×30) and should be completed by February 7th.
POLYPTYCH “result” FINISHED
“result” (2020) 98×108, acyrlic and oil sticks on canvas,
December 28, 2020 – “During 2020, my mother occupied her time with jigsaw puzzles and this gave me an idea. What if I could assemble a puzzle out of paintings – a puzzle that I had no idea what it would look like until it was finished,” said Chambers. Starting November 30th, he painted twelve 24” x 36” pieces, with titles that were synonymous with the word “result”, finishing on December 28th.
The sum of all twelve pieces combined resulted in an 8’ x 9’ piece entitled “result” – the result of 12 other results. “I hope to see this extra-large piece hanging on a gallery wall sometime in 2021,” said Chambers.
“result” continues Chambers’ abstract expressionist experimentation – this time using color field painting.
Color field painting emerged out of the attempts of several New York City artists in the 1940s-1950s to devise a modern, mythic art. Seeking to connect with the primordial emotions locked in ancient myths, rather than the symbols themselves, they sought a new style that would do away with any suggestion of illustration. Color Field Painting marked a major development in abstract painting, since it was the first style to resolutely avoid the suggestion of a form or mass standing out against a background. Instead, figure and ground are one, and the space of the picture, conceived as a field, seems to spread out beyond the edges of the canvas.
“These vertical strips of color to me are spiritual planes that tap into our most basic human emotions expressing a yearning for transcendence and the infinite,” said Chambers.
“This is the first time I worked with acrylics since high school in 1985 and I enjoyed it,“ said Chambers. “I also did not use a brush for these pieces – all twelve parts were done with one paint knife.”
When combined, the final polyptych contains many vertical colors – the top layer of three pieces contains warm reds, the next layer is in purples, the third is made up of cool blues and the bottom layer is comprised mainly of stark blacks and whites.
“When assembled together, I wanted the final color composition to have an emotional impact – a gradual blend of reds and blues that dissolve into blacks which hopefully grabs the viewer’s attention,” said Chambers. “My goal was to create the largest piece I’ve ever done that ‘puzzles’ the viewer’s eye as it goes back, forth, up and down the entire composition over and over again.”
CHAMBERS LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
October 21, 2020 – Delaware artist Dave Chambers is proud to have launched his new website “davidwadechambers.com”.
The site launched in October 2020 and contains all his existing works including his latest collection of 37 paintings entitled “Experimentally Ill”.
“As some may know, I was a painter in college during the mid-late 1980s but upon graduation my career took another turn into the worlds of graphic design and photography,” said Chambers. “In late 2019, I began to think about building a home studio and returning to my first love which is oil painting.”
On January 1, 2020, Chambers began his first painting in over 25 years “The Painter”. A series of 36 more pieces followed over the next nine months. “Because I’ve been away from painting for so long, each painting was really an experiment,” he said. “I was trying to find which styles I enjoyed the most and which ones suited me best.”
The title of the collection is “Experimentally Ill” which is a play on words. “The paintings were all experiments and the process to find my way again at times drove me slightly mad,” he said. “Over time the word ‘ill’ has evolved. In hip-hop it’s used to describe something that’s ‘cool’, ‘sweet’ or ‘tight’. I hope lovers of painting find this collection to be as cool, sweet and tight as I do.”
Chambers’ 37-piece magnum opus, with its reggae summertime beach theme, tackles the realities of American life in 2020 including ‘Black Lives Matter’, religion, politics, climate change and the threat of COVID-19.
Among the social commentary, tributes to deKooning’s abstracts, van Gogh’s brushwork, Picasso’s cubism and Matisse’s fauvism can be found along with self-portraits, depictions of ex-girlfriends and colorful abstract vistas.
Much of the work in this collection relates to the artist’s personal view of the world during one of the most upsetting years in history. “I couldn’t have painted 37 pieces during 2020 and have my work be unaffected by the events of such a tumultuous year,” said Chambers. “This year has left many scars on all of us. Both inside and out. There’s a lot to be said about COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, climate change and American politics these days. I tried to express my feelings on these topics using my paint brushes and paint knives.”
Chambers has already sold a few pieces from the collection and hopes to show the remaining paintings in an upcoming exhibition soon. “The Coronavirus has put a damper on gallery showings this past year but I’m hoping to display some experimentally ill pieces very soon,” said Chambers.
If you’re interested in purchasing any of the pieces from the “Experimentally Ill” collection, email Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view and download Chambers’ 44-page full color booklet “Experimentally Ill” containing all 37 paintings with brief descriptions of each, click here: