My interest in Stella causes me to see many things differently, but there is also a long history of painted reliefs that I was not aware of. All I knew of John Chamberlain was free-standing sculpture, but in the early sixties he made reliefs. This piece has
a strong resemblance to Stella’s Kleist reliefs, discussed in a previous post. Chamberlain didn’t get to this point without working through some steps that clearly start with normative painting, and parallel Stella’s Exotic Birds, though much earlier. As with
the Birds, there is a supporting plane/frame for the relief elements, which here include paper, cardboard and fabric. I guess the question is whether all the possibilities are present, flatly circulating in the art world and the differences are qualitative, or if originality is really an important factor. Probably a bit of both. Meanwhile, Chamberlain is clearly great.