Magazine article The Spectator

Books

Magazine article The Spectator

Books

Article excerpt

Of the same 1980s generation as Peter Doig and the Young British Artists (Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin et al), Stephen Chambers has always pursued a far more maverick, and profoundly more interesting, path.

Starting out as a well-regarded, heavyduty abstract painter while still a student at St Martin's School of Art, he had his perceptions utterly changed by a spell as a Rome Scholar c.1983, the pursuit of a way of painting that could pin down his intensely sensual response to the complexities of the seen world quickly becoming the preoccupation of a lifetime.

The outcome is paintings which, in their idiosyncratic blending of figurative and abstract elements, defy simple categorisation. Depicting human figures in environments where they seem to be both watching and being watched, their intense colour and complex surfaces speak, as he himself puts it, 'of states of mind, behaviours and sensibilities', their often unsettled and disturbed mood at curious odds with the abstract beauties of the paintings themselves. …

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