The first exhibition of 2012 will be the artwork of a local artist, Richard Chamberlain. In the late 1980s, Chamberlain began a series of paintings dealing with his experiences in Vietnam. Called The Year of the Sheep, which refers to the Chinese calendar designation for 1967, the year he spent in Southeast Asia, the series is comprised of black-and-white images that are reminiscent of abstracted landscapes. They are markedly different from Chamberlain’s other paintings, which are far more traditional, softly colored interiors, still lifes, and figures.
More than 20 years after his tour of duty in the Marines, Chamberlain still found himself haunted by his war experiences and sought counseling to deal with his anger and depression. A therapist suggested he use his skill as an artist to work through these emotions. What began as bands of black and white slowly emerged into these stark visions, where the viewer becomes drawn into the conflict. “The borders of good and evil are not always clear,” says Chamberlain. “I realized we weren’t fighting the enemy. We were fighting nature – the land, the heat, the disease, the monsoons,” he said. “This was the real enemy.” And this meant that we were opposite the side of nature, which is scary, because nature is usually thought of as good.”
The exhibition is poignantly titled, “The Year of the Sheep” and will be on view in the Millner Gallery from January 10 – July 8, 2012. The exhibition consists of approximately 22 of these abstracted landscapes paintings. Come visit The Cummer to see this insightful exhibition and see for yourself one man’s journey through darkness and light.
I have to say that I went to the Cummer Museum today and saw his work. This stuff is dark and seems very disturbing. But in a way makes me curious about him. Makes me want to know his fears and his doubts. Was he going crazy or was it just in his head? I will be researching him.
Mr. Chamberlain is not at all crazy, but like many of our Vets, has had to deal with Post Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The works in this exhibit reflect how he worked through some of the emotions dealing with his experiences in Vietnam. We are having a Community Opening for this exhibit next Tuesday evening – April 3rd. I hope you will join us there.
Do you have a web site address where I might see more of Mr. Chamberlain’s work?
I do not think he has a website. I will try to post some more of his images from this show within the next week though.
How would one go about purchasing some of his work?
You can contact Richard Chamberlain at either firstname.lastname@example.org or (904) 346-3533. If you have any issues with this, please let me know and I will make sure you get in touch with him.