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Text Page 1 (from Dreaming in Reverse/Soñando Hacia Atrás)

Text Page 1 (from Dreaming in Reverse/Soñando Hacia Atrás)

Artist: Tom Chambers (American, born 1957)
Date: 2010 (printed 2011)
Medium: black typset on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 7 5/8 × 7 15/16 in. (19.4 × 20.2 cm)
Support: 13 3/4 × 10 15/16 in. (34.9 × 27.8 cm)
Classification: Graphic
Credit Line: Gift of Dennis Cormier, 2012
Keywords and Associated Locations:
Object number: 2012.15.17
Description
Curatorial statement reads: The beautiful and enigmatic art of Tom Chambers is an exercise in seeing. Pushing the envelope in a subtle way, he has developed a personal aesthetic that challenges how we look at the world, and elicits from us surprising and unexpected reactions. His scenes of what we perceive as everyday life conform easily to the mysterious and surreal. These characteristics are evident in Dreaming in Reverse/Soñando Hacia Atrás, a series inspired by a recent trip to Mexico, a country whose art and culture has had a major and continual impact on Chambers’ innovative career. Twenty-five years earlier, he had observed a very different Mexico, one without the political strife and economic turmoil that the country is experiencing today. While previous projects have often spoken to a world struggling to move forward, Dreaming in Reverse is a reflection upon the past: stolen moments of a time when life in Mexico was humbler and much less complicated. Chambers constructs his imagery with photomontage-the process of making a picture by assembling pieces of various photographs. However, one might consider his final images to be visually closer to combination printing, a technique made popular in the mid-19th century by Oscar Rejlander and Henry Peach Robinson, and perfected in the late 1960s by Jerry Uelsmann. Chambers has effectively moved Ueslmann's seamless picture-making into the digital age by creating, like his predecessors, visual experiences that the single frame of a camera can't capture. Because of the mysterious and often dream-like quality of his work, Chambers, like Uelsmann, is often associated with surrealism, a cultural movement led by Andrè Breton that owed much to Freud’s theory of dream analysis and the unconscious. In this, the artist attempts to release the creative potential of the subconscious mind. While Uelsmann's images have an immediate connection to an alternative world, Chambers very often lends an element of believability to his pictures. In Dreaming in Reverse (like his previous series, ex votos), he found a direct link to magic realism, an aesthetic that was popular in Latin American literature and interpreted with the camera by Manuel Álvarez Bravo and Gracelia Iturbide, among others. Magic realism expands the notion of reality to include the fantastic. The ordinary becomes extraordinary, the unreal, which often occurs faster than the eye can see, is real.
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