Dominic Chambers Illuminates Black Bodies at Meditative Leisure

Part of the New Haven artist’s latest series that depicts Black subjects in states of restful reverie, a shadowy painting sheds light on the clarity and composure that comes when dialed into one’s innermost thoughts.

“Shadow Work (Chapters),” 2022, by Dominic Chambers. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London

Here, we ask an artist to frame the essential details behind one of their latest works.

Bio: Dominic Chambers, 28, New Haven (@chambersdominic)

Title of work: Shadow Work (Chapters).

Where to see it: Lehmann Maupin (501 W 24th St, New York) until March 5.

Three words to describe it: Reader, shadows, leisure.

What was on your mind at the time: I was thinking about the therapeutic practice of shadow working and the perspective that literature provides while pursuing becoming a more coherent sense of self.

An interesting feature that’s not immediately noticeable: The subject’s body is more evident and legible due to their proximity to the books in the composition. The lower half of the body dissolves and becomes one with its environment in the absence of literary texts. There’s also a soft rainbow present in the composition. However, like the body, the rainbow is more luminous due to its proximity to the books.

How it reflects your practice as a whole: The work reflects my investment in art historical painting strategies, color theory, and the opportunities that leisure and a sustained engagement with literary texts provide.

One song that captures its essence: Prayer by D’Angelo. 

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