“L’ÉTÉ” SUBMITTED FOR EXHIBITION
Chambers poses next to “L’été” during the opening reception on July 22, 2022.
June 22, 2022 – “L’été”, one of Chambers’ abstract expressionist paintings in his “Summer Accents” series, has been submitted as one of the entries in the Rehoboth Art League‘s “84th Annual Members’ Fine Art Exhibition” taking place inside the Corkran and Tubbs Galleries from July 22, 2022 to August 21, 2022.
Opening reception: Friday, July 22, 2022 (5:00pm – 7:00pm)
“All members of the Rehoboth Art League may submit one piece for the exhibition and I chose “L’été,” said Chambers. “I hope people will respond to its vibrant summer energy.”
This summer favorite showcases artworks in a variety of 2-D and 3-D media by dozens of Rehoboth Art League member artists.
The 48” x 48” painting will be for sale for $1,700, with some of the proceeds going to the Rehoboth Art League (RAL), and eligible for the following awards:
The Sarah Ethel Tunnell Award: Best in Show, $500.
The Mary Hall Leach Award: Outstanding Work, $250.
The Thomas McFarland Skelly Award: Painting of Exceptional Merit, $200.
The Mary Derrickson McCurdy Memorial Award: Honorable Mention, $100.
The Awards Judge is David M. Brinley, Professor of Art and Design, at the University of Delaware.
Chambers said, “If you’re down at the beach this summer, visit the RAL at 12 Dodds Lane, Rehoboth Beach and check out the show.”
SELF PORTRAIT SERIES
“Self Portrait VI” (2022) 36×48, acrylic, enamel, charcoal and marker on canvas
June 9, 2022 – Chambers has begun a new series of six experimental 36″ x 48″ self portraits to be completed by the end of September 2022. All six will be done in the Neo-Expressionist style Chambers used when he began painting as a student at the University of Delaware in the mid-1980s.
Neo-Expressionism developed in New York City in the late 1970s as a reaction against the highly intellectual movements of Conceptual Art and Minimalism with artists returning to portraying recognizable objects, such as the human body, but depicting their subjects in an almost raw and brutish manner. The frequently large-scale works of artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat contained highly textural and expressive brushwork along with intense vivid colors that had been rejected by the immediately preceding art movements.
“As an art student, I made a name for myself with pieces like ‘Self Portrait II’,” said Chambers. “I didn’t realize at the time that I was a Neo-Expressionist painter – I just happened to be working in the same exact way using the same exact methods as my contemporaries in New York City.”
Neo-Expressionist artists painted in many diverse styles but their paintings contained many common traits.
“Rejecting traditional standards of composition and design, Neo-Expressionist paintings of the 1980s usually contained an ambivalent emotional tone and a playful presentation of their subjects done very primitively that communicated a disturbing sense of inner turmoil, tension, and alienation,” remarked Chambers. “That was me during the late 1980s. Just look at ‘Self Portrait II’.”
“Self Portrait II” (1988) 24×36, oil, acrylic, charcoal, marker, crayon on canvas
Chambers was 21 when he painted “Self Portrait II”. He’ll be celebrating his 55th birthday in the middle of working on this new series of six self portraits and he’s thankful that he is not the ‘angry young man’ he once was.
“The Neo-Expressionist style suited me perfectly back then,” he said. “Painting should always be a form of expression – of letting it all out. At 21, I was having the time of my life amid rockstar excess and college romances but at the same time I was full of demons – anxiety, bitterness, resentment, insecurity, sadness. Now in my mid-fifties, feelings like that have disappeared and I’m the happiest I have ever been but I found myself wanting to revisit Neo-Expressionism and see what I can come up with. I doubt if these new pieces, like ‘Self Portrait VI’, will be as disturbing as ‘Self Portrait II’ because I have aged and there’s not much to be bitter about these days but I still want to express myself like I did when I was 21.”
Chambers plans to work on the first three pieces in June and July and then stopping to work on a special painting entitled “100”, the one hundredth painting he will have done since returning to his brushes in January 2020. After the completion of “100”, he will finish the series with the final three portraits.
Not much can be said about “100” at this time except that it is rumored to be a diptych and plans are for it to be finished and unveiled on or before August 1. Stay tuned.
“Aestas” (2022), acrylic and charcoal on canvas
January 24, 2022 – New year, new series. Chambers is kicking off 2022 with a new series of large abstracts entitled “Summer Accents”.
The series will consist of seven 4’x4′ pieces. Each piece will have the title “summer” but in a different Western European language.
“In the past I have worked very quickly but after working on ‘Unearthing’ and ‘The Gnarly Sight’, I have taught myself to slow down,” said Chambers. “I want to produce large works while taking my time and trying to perfect each piece.”
“The painting ‘Aestas’ is a good example of what I’m striving or in this new series,” said Chambers. “It just sort of evolved as the work progressed. I would work on it for a few hours each day and then photograph the results. I would then study the photographs and make changes the next day.”
Chambers plans to spend 2 weeks on each piece in the series and all seven should be finished by March 21, 2022 – the first day of spring.
“I don’t know if the next piece will be similar in style to ‘Aestas’,” said Chambers. “With this series I’m not going to overthink things. I’m going to approach the canvas each morning and see what happens – the pieces will come out of my heart, not my mind.”
“Haf” (2022), 36×36, acrylic, enamel and marker on canvas
UPDATED: April 3, 2022 – The “Summer Accents” series has been expanded to include six more pieces.
“When I finished the first seven pieces I realized that I was having too much fun to stop.” said Chambers. “So, why not do six more?”
The six new pieces will be a smaller size at 3’x3′ but each piece will continue to have the title “summer” in a Western European language and all six should be finished by June 20, 2022 – the first day of summer.
“As I painted the first seven pieces, I finally hit upon a style that I enjoy and seems to generate a favorable response with viewers,” said Chambers.
The style is a combination of two of Chambers’ favorite artists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning first seen in Chambers’ “Unearthing” project.
“I am a very big fan of the New York abstract expressionists on the 1950s,” Chambers remarked. “They are my greatest influences.”
Enamel paint is dripped across an underpainted canvas and then shapes and patterns are formed with color in between the lines of dripped paint. This style is best seen in “Haf”, the first of the first six new paintings.
“The six new pieces are smaller at 36″x36″,” said Chambers. “I think all thirteen pieces will look nice together at alternating sizes when shown at an upcoming exhibition. I hope to show all 13 pieces in 2023.”
“COALESCENSE” SELECTED FOR EXHIBITION
Dave Chambers poses next to “Coalescence” during the opening reception at the Rehoboth Art League on October 1, 2021.
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 eight paintings on New Years Day 2021.
“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 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.
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: