Dominic Chambers: Born 1993, St. Louis, MO, Works and lives in New Haven, CT
After Albers, 2020
Dominic Chambers’s depictions of joy, lounging and reading help rethink the Black intellectual. The St. Louis, Missouri native earned his BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2016, and soon after completed his MFA at the Yale University School of Art. His large-scale canvases pay homage to literary narratives and mythologies—and, in particular, to African-American history. The artist, who also collects, is exploring vibrant color-field paintings that feature moments of contemplation and leisure. The dichotomy is striking.
In a recent conversation, Chambers discloses his lifelong passion for studying the arts, among other things. He elaborates that he’s always loved drawing, but that he is still finding his footing where painting is concerned. Viewers, and the art community, would undoubtedly disagree, although there’s no arguing with the artist’s humility. Chambers also admits that the coronavirus pandemic has presented a time to deviate from his path—to slow down on the production front and take time to explore new and innovative ideas. Quarantine, however, has brought with it a great deal of stress, the tension linked to political unrest notwithstanding. But, during the Black Lives Matter protests that started in late spring and remain ongoing, Chambers has found solace in his studio. In contrast to the current climate, he began to experiment with images of Black leisure—of members of the Black community at rest, reading and meditating in their spaces.
Joy in our veil, 2020
A Moment in Yellow, 2020
It’s all in homage to the acquisition of knowledge within the Black community. Black intellectualism has been vastly underrepresented in the visual arts, Chambers explains, and the Yale MFA grad wants nothing more than to ensure Black people can be, in his words, “celebrated as intellectuals by the collective.” Chambers goes on to emphasize that in his view, art is as much an intellectual activity as reading. The arts are a means by which we engage with images, a means by which we solve problems and connect with others. To maintain this sense of intellectual stimulation, Chambers has commenced a new project inspired by the work of the late Josef Albers—a modernist who dealt expansively with color theory. Stay tuned for further insights into the artist’s mind and studio. (quotes: Charles Moor, Cultured, July 2020)