John Chamberlain

[1927 - 2011] View All Work

When John Chamberlain began his career in the late 1950s, his starting point was Abstract Expressionist painting.  Rising to prominence in the late 1950s with energetic, vibrant sculptures hewn from disused car parts, his twisted, lacquered, partially painted, metal sculptures, a three-dimensional form of Abstract Expressionism, astounded critics and captured the imagination of fellow artists.

In the mid-1960s the artist abandoned automotive metal and turned to other materials. His experimentation in two-dimensional work forms different creative phases, time and time again bringing him back to the abstract expressionism starting point.  His returns to 2-dimensional work suggests other directions he might have taken--and quietly did take, in sketching, painting and printmaking--reinforcing both the pictorial character of his work and his unconventional way with materials.  Always returning to metal as his primary material, and in his later years, limited himself to specific parts of the automobile, adding color to found car parts, dripping, spraying and patterning on top of existing hues to an often wild effect, Chamberlain was a ground-breaking artist who pioneered three-dimensional Abstract Expressionism.