Home Log In Sign Up FAQ's Contact ProBlogs About ProBlogs
 
Previous Posts
Dyer Street Portraiture

The McEwen Photographic Studio

An American Teacher's Experience Near Zhengzhou, China

Descendants 350

Mother's 45s

WIDESCREEN

The Pixel As Minimal Art

NMA@NID

All Posts by trchambers
 



trchambers blog

By trchambers(46)
About trchambers(46)


An American Teacher's Experience Near Zhengzhou, China


I've had [still having] an incredible time in China. I thought I would share a bit of my travelogue about this country and through my student connections at Sheng Da College near Zhengzhou [2003-2004 academic year].

While near Zhengzhou, which is the capital of Henan Province [central China], my wife and I had the opportunity to experience a great deal of the country's culture. And what made it even more meaningful was being able to share this experience with my students and their families.

Unless you've had a similar opportunity overseas, you'll never know what it's like to experience another country/culture beyond the tourist phase. The intimacy of friendship with my students and their families gave us unprecedented access to local landmarks and activities. And our knowledge base was expanded from a native perspective.

And as a documentary photographer, I was also able to meet and team up with Chinese photographers to not only make images, but also celebrate an East-West union with a common purpose. Again, I credit my student connections for this opportunity.

One aspect of traveling overseas, frankly that people don't do, is experiencing the rural areas [villages] up close and personal, which in my mind is the indispensable quality of the country. Again, I credit my student connections for this opportunity to meet, greet and sometimes get to know the people in the countryside.

An American Teacher's Experience Near Zhengzhou, China

The People of Longhu Town

Tom R. Chambers
http://tomrchambers.com

        Comments (0)


Descendants 350


History has always been an interest of mine ... even when I was in grade school, for some reason ... but I think it's boring for a lot of people, particularly youth because there's a sense of detachment. The past [certainly, the distant-past] situation/event seems to have no connection or relevance with what's current. And young people [others] are "now" oriented. So in 1986 and as a part of Rhode Island's 350th Anniversary Celebration, I put together the documentary portraiture project, "Descendants 350", to offer a unique look and study of the State's early history.

I made images of Descendants (contemporaries) as icons or symbols to pay tribute to and talk about their Ancestors' (First Settlers') contributions during the early to middle 1600s through text extracted from The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (and other sources).

This unique coupling of present and past bloodlines makes this project special as it relates to Rhode Island's early history. There's a connection with the Descendants [the contemporaries who are alive and interact with other residents of the State during the present time] and a perpetuation of sorts of the Ancestors'/First Settlers' contributions in formulating the State's history. The sense of presence or immediacy is the key factor that makes this project special in a curricular sense.

The expression and posture of the Descendants within the images are essentially the same throughout the series of portraits to establish a common thread which indicates a unity of pride for their Ancestry. And the settings [surroundings] are reflective of their Ancestors' respective backgrounds. Even though the images can be viewed strictly as portraiture, they are also a collection of icons or symbols that presents itself through flesh objects (Descendants) as gifts of gratitude, respect and admiration for those Ancestors/First Settlers who founded and settled a new society [Rhode Island] based on freedom from religious persecution.

The project was funded by Providence 350, Inc., and it was exhibited at ten different venues in Rhode Island. It now resides as a part of the Rhode Island State Archives. Some news coverage states: "Descendants 350 views like a stately procession of New England nobility. The show consists of black-and-white portraits of 40 Rhode Island scions who singularly and collectively convey an intense bond with local governmental, social and religious beginnings."

Descendants 350 [This year marks its 20th Anniversary.]

Tom R. Chambers
http://tomrchambers.com
        Comments (0)


Mother's 45s


I think about my mother a lot and particularly now since the 23rd anniversary of her death is approaching. She died October 14, 1983 at the age of 58. Several years later [1990], I put together a visual arts piece, "Mother's 45s" to pay tribute to my mother and all mothers of the world. The project was first exhibited at Gallery One in Providence, Rhode Island.

I matched my mother's 45rpm records with the family photographs to create assemblages by using the hole spaces of the records to frame the images. I eventually arrived at a satisfactory combination, incorporating forty-five 45rpm records with the images.

I put a portion of each song onto an audio cassette to be used as a part of the exhibition, and faded-in/faded-out the songs and looped them for continuous play through the original speaker of her RCA phonograph and in order with the wall display of the photo/record assemblages. I sequenced the photographs of my mother according to the chronology of her life, which spanned almost 60 years.

When the assemblages are viewed along with the songs, the sound stimulus pulls the viewer from record to record (1 - 45), and this process has some interesting points: the maturation process of my mother is seen; the man who came into her life and eventually became her husband and my father is seen; the maturation process of her only child (me) is seen; the change in hair and fashion styles is seen; the change in automobile models is seen; and various locales throughout the United States are seen.

A review from The Phoenix's New Paper [April 19-25, 1990], Providence, Rhode Island states: "Make room for my 45s right beside your 78s, Jackson Browne once sang to his father. Tom R. Chambers mixes his media to come up with a spin on that particular sentiment. Mother's 45s pulls the rug out from under ordinary nostalgia by pinpointing specific sections of his mom's snapshots and strategically-placed seven-inch records (selections include I Get Ideas, Playing For Keeps and Little Small Town Girl). An era is documented; the woman's pleasure concerns become evident; and a dying art form is given another purpose. In one fell swoop, Chambers chronicles how we interact with our memories and how those memories are forever irretrievable."

This project was later picked up through national [USA] search for inclusion in the "Parents" exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, 1992 [Exhibition catalogue (ISBN #0-932706-20-7)]. "Mother's 45s" (and its success) is the high point of my visual arts career for the simple reason that it involves and perpetuates my mother's existence. And the result is a tribute to my mother that also stirs memories and emotions in everyone about their mothers.

Mother's 45s

Tom R. Chambers
http://tomrchambers.com
        Comments (1)


WIDESCREEN


I'm working with the idea of "widescreen" documentary photography. What goes around comes around ... the "new" widescreen monitors these days ... and if you're around my age [59], I'm sure you'll remember the Cinemascope movies using the widescreen movie format [1953 to 1967]. I was old enough during this period of time to feel the impact of this "visual change" as I watched all of the wonderful action and adventure films of the day. There was a certain enhancement of the emotional state ... good or bad ... that made the experience one to remember or as significant.

I suppose if I tried to psychoanalyze my "widescreen" treatment of my various documentary photography series like China, Hungary, and now, India, there may be a reaching out or an attempt to recoup my past since I'm rapidly approaching ... it seems ... my twilight years [as they say, and I'm beginning to believe this]. There might even be a hint of desperation since I say all the time that I'm running out of time.

So, my "widescreen" treatment conjures up my childhood as I immersed myself in Cinemascope movies in the mid-fifties to mid-sixties. And the fact that today's monitors are changing over to widescreen really has no influence on what I'm doing with my documentary coverage. This change is in the distant background and a kind of reiteration of history that is now bringing Cinemascope into the living room.

Just as we compensated for ratio proportions and size during the Cinemascope craze, the same will happen in our living rooms. Yes, the distortion in some of the images fits into my aesthetic. The "squashing" and "skewing" create another dimension for me that pushes towards time warp and/or abstraction. I've said in the past that this adds "dramatization", but I think I really mean, "otherworldliness", and this may even mean an attempt to recoup my past [as I've said] which is to some degree, this "otherworldliness" or a place/time that I'll never be able to touch or penetrate ... again.

Widescreen India

Widescreen China

Widescreen Hungary

Tom R. Chambers
http://tomrchambers.com
        Comments (0)


The Pixel As Minimal Art


I've been working with the pixel as Minimal Art for the past four years. I continue to do so because I think there's merit in it when I compare my work to some of the early Minimalists' works.

With Minimalism, no attempt is made to represent an outside reality. Minimalism is characterized by single or repeated geometric forms, and there is a deliberate lack of expression. It does not refer to anything beyond its literal presence. Less is more, and a more direct and pure relationship between the viewer and the work exists.

Again, the similarity between my Pixelscapes and the early Minimalists' works is the main reason I continue to pursue the pixel as Minimal Art, under the namesake of Pixelscapes. With all of the complexities and myriad approaches to art that the current Digital Revolution offers, I feel there's no need to look any further than the pixel because it doesn't pretend to be anything else other than truth, and like Percy Bysshe Shelley said, "Truth is beauty and beauty is truth."

JD Jarvis, Artist and Art Critic, writes:

"The genre of Minimalism makes a good verbal foundation for the work Chambers is exploring. This new generation of work is challenging even those distinctions. In terms of minimalism these works seem almost elaborate, with strong patterns emerging from the basic structure that is the single pixel. Taken to the next extreme would be a sculptural arrangement of individual squares (pixels) of a single color. As if pixels have liberated themselves, through magnification, from any other context and are now present as individual entities in non-virtual space. The potential for a huge installation referenced as a unit (pattern) from a great distance or seen as individual bits up close has implications for an individual's life within a global community, as well as, commenting on digital communication/art."

My Pixelscapes and their Derivatives have been exhibited in America, Australia, England, Russia [Exhibition catalogue (ISBN #5-86272-92-8)], China and Spain.

Pixelscapes: Next Generation

Pixelscapes: Third Generation

Pixelscapes: Fourth Generation

Pixelscapes: Fifth Generation

Derivatives:

Pscan

Ptone

Tom R. Chambers
http://tomrchambers.com

        Comments (0)



 

Archives:

June 2008
M T W T F S S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30          
« May
   


Home | FAQ's | Categories | Blogging Guidelines | Recent Referrals | Terms of Use | Privacy | About ProBlogs | Contact ProBlogs
Copyright 2008 ProBlogs.com - All rights reserved.
Not Logged In