Olga and Mary Visiting 1964–65
Jack Chambers, Olga and Mary Visiting, 1964–65
Oil and mixed media on Douglas fir plywood, 125 x 193.7 cm
Chambers uses a radically fragmented visual presentation to convey the dynamism of a casual domestic conversation between his wife, Olga, on the left, and her friend Mary. The image is highly coloured like his London paintings from the previous three years, yet also muted as if we are looking through layers of atmosphere; its fascination stems from Chambers’s distribution and repetition of crucial forms—the cup, Mary’s head—across the flattened, homogenized surface. Chambers describes the painting in terms that underline his interest in film: “A painting gets put together just like an experience—in particles. [This work] isn’t the description of a visual moment; it’s the accumulation of experienced interiors brought into focus.” He continues evocatively, “You are in a room, then in another room where you see an object being held this way, then you see it in motion, a week later a cup is tilting … a woman rests one leg over the other, pink … the thick rug is buff orange.” He concludes, “Sense combinations complement one another to enrich perception.” As always, Chambers seeks to understand and convey perception in the deepest sense.