|Chamberlain has starred in some of the most dramatic and powerful productions in the history of television, including Shogun, Wallenberg, and The Thornbirds to name a few.||
After finishing high school, Richard Chamberlain went to Pomona College, in Claremont, to study painting and art history. Although the seminal vocation for acting was already embedded in his heart, he did not trust himself enough to take the decisive step and opt for the drama department. Moreover he had won a few months earlier an art department award and a summer scholarship to Art Center School. His future seemed sealed. He would become a commercial artist, perhaps an art teacher.
Progressively though, the buried seed started to germinate, especially after he moonlighted in the drama department and was chosen to perform in college theatre productions. His success gave him courage and confidence, he finally knew he had talent, he would become an actor. It was too late in his studies to switch majors, so he finished his studies of art and graduated with a B.A.
Even though Richard Chamberlain pursued with ardent dedication and high acclaim his acting career, he never abandoned his brushes for a long period of time. In his collection of prints, at least two were painted in the early 70s, partly in England and partly in Los Angeles: “Memories of Sussex” and “Late Spring”. In 1973, Modern Talking Picture Service featured Richard Chamberlain in a short documentary about performers whose hobby was painting next to Tony Bennet, Candice Bergen, Duke Ellington, Henry Fonda, Peggy Lee, Kim Novak, Dinah Shore, Red Skelton and Elke Sommer. In the 80s after a trip to Finland he painted “Still Laughter”.
In the 90s, with more time available from acting, his style changed, his canvases became more sophisticated, enriched on several levels with symbols of spiritual content like in “Magical Mango”, “Balinese Dream”, “IS” and “Somewhere Within”. During the same period, he extensively adopted pointillism in works with ink on paper, “Heavenly Carp” and the “Joy” series being an illustration of it. In these paintings he captured the Eastern philosophical approach, amended by his very own creed, sometimes leaving the viewer intrigued by the spheres… Cosmos, silence, emptiness?
Richard Chamberlain has repeatedly stated that he likes to change styles; in the late 90s and with the new century he often continued using the pointillist technique, but took the viewer a step further, to more personal grounds, allowing him a glimpse into the realm of his fantasies, “An Angel of Sorts”, “Celestial Ardor”, “Conception Imminent”, to mention a few. He also, for the first time, added faces to his paintings – women faces exclusively, no bodies – as in “Isle of She” (a work burdened with a symbolism that the artist prefers not to reveal) and “Lucy in the Sky”.
“Reptilian Roots”, if not of a different brushwork, takes on a rather somber denotation, a departure from the aura that prevailed in his previous works.
Recently Richard Chamberlain has added four prints to his gallery: “Memories of Sussex” is back. Started during his stay in England, this fine rendering of a peaceful and bucolic corner of Sussex already contains one of Richard Chamberlain’s signatures: the circumvoluted shape of the clouds with embedded figures also present in several later seascapes.
“Sea Shore Sunset” punctiliously captures the Hawaiian sunset with the golden ball exploding into a myriad of tiny bright colorful petals illuminating the sky.
The artist has added a new color to his palette in “Sailing Through the Wild Flowers”, a sustained dusty-pink. Here the wild flowers blend into the sky thus creating a single level where motion flows from the full-blown sails that emerge from the right and cleave a sea of multicolored blooming waves.
Does “Dead End” offer a new clue to the meaning of spheres in the painter’s language? Executed with the meticulousness he has used us to, are Richard Chamberlain’s spheres piercing eyes to scrutinize the unknown or do the spheres engulf the viewer as death engulfs the living?
The latest painting, “All The Jazz” describes what jazz looks like to the artist. Improvisation is captured through multiple lines that flow from the core structure allowing as well the expected break, both characteristic of jazz, and in some measure of Bela Bartok. A complex painting in the detail, featuring a guitar, the cords of a cello or double bass, the brushes of the drummer. Complexity, yes indeed, and an uplifting feeling that rings deep in the soul.
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