Yet Another Precursor

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

DoloresJames62

John Chamberlain, Dolores James 1962

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

Chamberlain_Untitled1960

John Chamberlain, Untitled 1960

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.

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2 Responses to Yet Another Precursor

  1. john says:

    how does this line up with nouveau realisme?

  2. I think it’s too much formed to be nouveau realisme, which usually just presents the objects. This kind of work is not pop.

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