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Exhibition of works on paper and paintings by Tom Chamberlain opens at Aurel Scheibler
Tom Chamberlain, (b. 1973), As if, 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 55 cm / 19 4/5 x 21 3/5 in. Photograph: Rubén Charvél, Mexico City. Courtesy Tom Chamberlain and Aurel Scheibler, Berlin.

BERLIN.- “If not now“ is the British artist Tom Chamberlain’s (b. 1973) third solo show at Aurel Scheibler. It features works on paper and paintings, and will run through April 18, 2015. The first monographic publication on the artist titled “Regardless“ accompanies the exhibition.

Chamberlain’s work occupies the intersection of the visible and the veiled, between darkness and luminance. The pieces defy reproduction and demand a particularly concentrated way of looking and a slowed down mode of perception. Myriad layers, lines and marks lead to the dissolution of the transcribed while establishing tremendous visual complexity. Moments of visual deception occur repeatedly during the contemplation of Chamberlain’s work, challenging the viewer’s perception again and again. Martin Brest describes these fluctuating moments of the work’s reception as a “feedback loop,” which “leads to a deeper stage of perception, which itself “leads to increased receptivity, permitting ever more profound perception and so on.“(1)

The exhibition shows two large watercolours created in 2014. The artist uses delicate layers of pigment in order to create a highly complex mesh of “invisible” connections. Although these revise the initial impression of colour they communicate, the work is in no way colourless or monochrome, as it initially appears. Instead pieces include a wide range of colours, revealed only by the subtle elisions present in the layers bordering the composition.

In his new series “Reckless promises,” composed of colour pencil drawings of quadrilaterals, Chamberlain weaves a subtle grid pattern consisting of innumerable vibrating geometric polygons. The work alludes to the impossibility of squaring the circle. Its iridescent surface irritates the eye.

Five small scale paintings created in Mexico over the last year, fascinate by their concurrent depth and flatness, which create the illusion of the canvas as a projection screen. They express a visual restraint, by which the artist questions the quick pace of our perception. Colour here takes on particular import. Emphasized for its special communicative ability it exceeds its typical compositional role. Chamberlain’s œuvre presents an abstracted reality, which lies beyond space and time. Matthias Bleyl draws our attention to the connection to painters of “painting on the verge of visibility.”(2) The work of Agnes Martin and Ad Reinhardt come to mind. “Despite all of the variations, they have always been paintings of tranquility, indebted to the patiently repeated application of paint.“(3) However, Chamberlain is not concerned with the arrival at a final stage of painting, but seeks to capture and extrapolate its temporal process.

(1) Martin Brest in: Tom Chamberlain - Regardless, Aurel Scheibler, Berlin, 2015, p.7.

(2) Matthias Bleyl in ibid. p.64.

(3) Ibid.

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