Rebecca Chamberlain at NY's Dodge Gallery
Homatorium I the Artist's Second Dodge Show
By: Ariel Petrova - Feb 08, 2013
DODGE gallery presents Homatorium I, an exhibition of new work by Rebecca Chamberlain. This is the artist's second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Stemming from a long-standing captivation with the early modernist era, specifically the period between the two world wars, Chamberlain's moody paintings of vacant interiors read like love songs for a lost world. Each room is a stage for a perfectly lived life forever trapped in amber. Her monochromatic compositions, painted in lithography ink, provide a window through which to look as one might into the villas of Pompeii. There was life here! Look how they lived! Much like the architects of the period, Chamberlain choreographs these spaces within and between compositions. She fetishizes their detail while abstracting their geometry. Painting reflective and textured surfaces with rich ink washes over the glean of vintage architecture paper, her paintings themselves allure and reinforce a sense of longing.
For Homatorium I, Chamberlain creates an environment in the inner gallery resembling the feeling of Frank Lloyd Wright's Zimmerman House; marking a shift for Chamberlain, as she focuses for the first time on a singular site. Through a residency at the Currier Museum of Art in 2012, she witnessed the influence of modernist sanatoriums in Wrights' interior and exterior design. Chamberlain experienced the house as, "a sanitized version of reality," a combination of both home and sanatorium.
Often working from vintage photographs of the period, Chamberlain heightens her presence in Homatorium I by combining the photos of Yukio Futagawa and the Zimmermans' with her own, captured on her visit to the Zimmerman House. Creating multi-panel pieces of different images of the same spaces, she offers a collective, and therefore unfixed perspective and memory of the site. Chamberlain further fragments views by splicing and editing the original source material. Unlike her previous bodies of work, the images chosen all depict windows and views looking from the interior; Chamberlain positions the viewer inside the Zimmerman house but directs the gaze outward.
Regimenting the height of each piece in the inner gallery to 27 inches and composing all the paintings in a deep red harkening the warm brick and wood of the Zimmerman house, Chamberlain fabricates a complete environment for her viewer. Using hand-crafted frames, some that mirror actual windows in the Zimmerman house and others that reference the aluminum of modernist sanatoriums, Chamberlain frames an already framed view, heightening a sense of displacement. The panels appear cinematic lining the walls of the gallery each scene abutting the next, presenting the viewer with an edited and fragmented perspective. Chamberlain's photo-realistic style seemingly offers comfort in the "known"; however, when subsumed by the environment in the inner gallery an unfixed sensation arises as one can only look out, not in.
Squared Views Arrangement Screen places the viewer as if on a couch in the living room gazing out the window to the garden. Wright designed this garden and framed these views; however, despite his attempts to construct a complete environment, nature is not fixed. Chamberlain reflects this sensation, in her more textured, broad and frenetic brushstrokes focusing on a feeling of chaos that vibrates against the clean, crisp architecture. The hermetic perfection of a protected interior is unsealed.
Rebecca Chamberlain was born in 1970 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Chamberlain is known for her accomplishments in fine art, fashion and performance. She has exhibited at VOLTA NY, 303 Gallery and Knoedler Project Space, New York, judi rotenberg gallery, Boston, Champion Fine Art, LA and Agenzio04, Bologna, Italy. She was the recipient of Artlog's best booth at VOLTA NY 2010 and Joan Mitchell Grant. Chamberlain's work has been reviewed in Artforum, The New York Times, Art in America, Artinfo.com, The Boston Globe, Flash Art and Tema Celeste among other publications. Her work is included in the collection of Fidelity Investments and Torys LLP. In 2012, Chamberlain was awarded a NYFA Fellowship for Painting. Chamberlain lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.