Bio | Poster Bio | Resume | Project Photo/Arts Overview | Letters of Reference | Exhibitions | Ed Tech Speaker's page | Academia | Facebook | LinkedIn | News Articles | Behance | Twitter One | Twitter Two | RYSS | Pinterest | WordPress | WordPress 2 | Tumblr | Vimeo | MEE/SIGIS/ISTE | MEE/TATN | Ed Tech Tweets | ePals PPT/TCEA 2013 | STEM/STEAM | Knowledge Visualization | Apollopalooza | Apollopalooza Summer Camp | School/NASA | Apollo/1/7-17 | Apollo Dialogues, Etc. | Apollo/LRL | Focus Gallery | The Pixel as Minimalist Art | Featured Photographer at PhotoRequest (Interview) | Featured Artist at Avenue Gallery (Interview) | RIT Photo Forum | PoA | Daddy Joe and Mommy Jean | Artist Statement
Tom R. Chambers' website can be accessed either by scrolling this front page as a blog overview, or clicking on the indivdual links below for a selection and in greater detail re: his projects/etc. The links above go to a miscellany of pages re: Chambers.
My Dear Malevich
MDM Kinetic-Glitch
Black Square Interpretations
Black Square Unmasked
Beyond Black Square
Red Sweep Black Square
Black Square Embellished
Black Square Space
Black Square Desecration
Black Square Merge: Nature
Black Square Cross Revolution
Bourgeois Black Square
Black Square TransFORMations
Black Square Rotation Black Circle
The Primordial Pixel
The Unconscious Glitch
Tom Series
Digital/New Media Art Program
International Digital Art Awards (IDAA)
Little Tommy
Panhandle Circle-square
New Media Art Workshop/NMA@NID
At the Movies: 1952-1969
Windmills of a Mind's Eye
Retro Providence: 1985-1990
Mother's 45s
Mattie Oline: Thoughts of a Grandmother
The People of Longhu Town, China
People to People
The McEwen Photographic Studio
Variations on the Dan Mask
Curatorial Work
Southwest of Rusape
Descendants 350
Dyer Street Portraiture
Nocona - The Early Years
Buddha Earth
Just Words
Ahmedabad, India (2006)
Budapest, Hungary (2006)
United States Peace Corps Volunteer
Uncle Bud: A Glitch Tribute
Metropolis
Geo
Toe Totem
Soft Portraits
360 et al
Public Domain Reconstruction
Streak 16
SWR: TMC Revisited
Just In Time
Kites For Gandhi
DSP to Pixelscapes
Buddha's Stones
Travelogue
Teacher/RYSS
Instructor/Apollo
China (2003-2007)
Forgotten and For Sale
9/11 Memorial, NYC
TOM R. CHAMBERS - Photo/Arts    

Tom R. Chambers is a documentary photographer and visual artist, and he is currently working with the pixel as Minimalist Art ("Pixelscapes") and Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" ("Black Square Interpretations"). He has over 100 exhibitions to his credit. His "My Dear Malevich" project has received international acclaim, and it was shown as a part of the "Suprematism Infinity: Reflections, Interpretations, Explorations" exhibition in conjunction with the "100 Years of Suprematism" conference at the Atrium Gallery, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York City (2015).

MY DEAR MALEVICH (MDM) ( "My Dear Malevich")

This homage to Kazimir Malevich is a confirmation of Tom R. Chambers' Pixelscapes as Minimalist Art and in keeping with Malevich's Suprematism - the feeling of non-objectivity - the creation of a sense of bliss and wonder via abstraction. Chambers' action of looking within a portrait (photo) of Kazimir Malevich to find the basic component(s), pixel(s) is the same action as Malevich looking within himself - inside the objective world - for a pure feeling in creative art to find his "Black Square", "Black Cross" and other Suprematist works.

And there's a mathematical parallel between Malevich's primitive square ("Black Square") ... divided into four, then divided into nine ("Black Cross") ... and Chambers' Pixelscapes. The pixel is the most basic component of any computer graphic, and it can be represented by 1 bit (a 1 if the pixel is black, or a 0 if the pixel is white). And filters (tools [e.g., halftone]) in a graphics program like Photoshop produce changes by mathematically modifying pixel values based on the values of neighboring pixels.

So as Chambers mentions in his Pixelscapes article, Malevich and those Minimalists who followed later would probably have had great appreciation for this basic and mathematical component ... the pixel. And beginning in 2000, his Pixelscapes were somewhat of a revelation for him when compared to the nonobjective works of Malevich and other Minimalists generated many years before the pixel and the Digital Revolution. It seemed that Chambers had managed to do what they had done through the simple process of magnification, treatment and isolation of the pixel(s).

Review by JD Jarvis, Art Critic/Artist and coauthor of Going Digital: The Practice and Vision of Digital Artists (ISBN 1-59200-918-2) (Note: This review was written for the first exhibition of "My Dear Malevich" at the Art Gallery, Fine Arts Department, Zhaoqing University, Zhaoqing, China [April 2 - 15, 2007]).

"Can an exhibition of art be both physical and virtual, a historical yet avant-garde, forward-looking homage with one foot in the current 21st century digital art scene and the other in the rich 20th century history of Modernist art? The answer is yes, if you are Tom Chambers and your base of operations is the Fine Arts Department of Zhaoqing University in the Guangdong Province of China.

For several years now, Mr. Chambers has treated his students at Zhaoqing University and their peers at selected universities ranging from Wake Forest University, the University of Louisville, the Art Institute of Boston, the State Art Museum of Novosibirsk, Russia, Rensselaer Polytechnic in Troy, New York (among others), as well as, anyone with access to the web to a cross cultural mix of student digital art and photography. Based on themes from "Self/Soul", "Into the Future" or the color "Red" these projects are brimming with culture and art. Chambers has infused his students with his own sense of wonder, introspection and a desire to examine and communicate.

Which brings us to one of Tom Chambers' own most recent and personal exhibitions entitled "My Dear Malevich" on display from April 2 through 15 in the art gallery of Zhaoqing University. This is the physical/virtual part of this exhibit. Wherein we see on the web a presentation of what must be, in real-time and space, a very striking exhibit. Consisting of many, large-size, black and white prints of hard-edged geometric designs "My Dear Malevich" is also an homage to the Russian artist who carried earlier Cubist work entirely into the abstract and non-representational. Kazimir Malevich founded the Suprematist art movement around 1913 and opened the door to true non-objectivity in modern art.

This exhibition expands inward (so to speak) from research into the progenitors of Minimalism, an artform in which Mr. Chambers has been experimenting for several years with his series of "Pixelscapes" exhibitions. Utilizing the most basic unit of any computer graphic; the single pixel, his "Pixelscapes" serve as colorful pathways into the purely metaphysical aspects of art which, by virtue of presenting so little, leads the viewer to so much in terms of their own emotional content.

With "My Dear Malevich", Chambers describes for the viewer a process by which he travels (via magnification) into a digitized photograph of Malevich and discovers at the singular pixel level arrangements which echo back directly to Malevich's own totally abstract compositions. This process is such an apt metaphor for Malevich's own journey deep with himself, as well as, his discovery of the non-objective soul of art contained within the objective world as to constitute a form of visual poetry.

This visual poetry contains the ironic connection between Modernist philosophy which moved visual art from figurative representational pictures of the physical world into an expressive and emotional world of abstraction; and, the digital realm in which the purely abstract unit of one pixel off - one pixel on, has been utilized to reproduce once again, with breath taking accuracy the physical world. Now, Chambers' has shown a path by which this tool, which so often serves hyper-reality, is forced to reveal the abstract soul at its very core. Was Malevich thinking in 'pixels' without knowledge of the term and even many decades before the fact of the technology, which utilizes this basic component? His association with Futurism might account for this sort of metaphysical connection.

And, so it is that we have the aspect of this exhibition that straddles a whole century of art. From the earliest beginnings of Modern art to the latest developments in the tools by which the newest works are being made. The ground that is covered is immense, but the time between the two virtually disappears in this exhibit. It seems that with "My Dear Malevich" it is not a matter of what is old (or new) being new (or old) again; but that what is 'old' and 'new' exists simultaneously. That which is 'gone' is also, at the very same time, ever-present."

Exhibitions:

1) My Dear Malevich, Suprematism Infinity: Reflections, Interpretations, Explorations (Group Show), Atrium Gallery, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York City, New York, U.S.A., December 1, 2015 - January 22, 2016 (pdf). Click on SIRIE to view photographs (by Cho Eun-mi) of the opening. Note: this work was donated to the Russian American Cultural Center (RACC) Art Collection, New York City (letter).

Image above: center, left to right: Tom R. Chambers and Mark Khidekel (artist/architect). Irina Nakhova (artist) is seen to the far left conversing with a viewer. Chambers' "My Dear Malevich" (left) and "Red Sweep Black Square" (right) are seen on the gallery wall. Mark Khidekel is the son of Lazar Khidekel, the artist/architect who studied with Kazimir Malevich.

2) My Dear Malevich, Black Square Interpretations and Other Suprematist Explorations (two-person show with Max Semakov), CaviArt Gallery, Russian Cultural Center, Houston, Texas, March 6 - April 7, 2015. Tom R. Chambers and Max Semakov/MiMs Art Group come together to pay tribute to Kazimir Malevich through a series of artworks that interpret his "Black Square", and explore Suprematism. Chambers is based in Houston, Texas, and Semakov is based in Moscow, Russia, which moves this collaboration to a higher plane of exchange between the citizenry of two countries - America and Russia. Chambers and Semakov through their interpretations and explorations move Suprematism in the direction of Neo-Suprematism. Their artworks accentuate and cultivate non-objectivity - the supremacy of pure feeling in creative art. Click on BSIOSE to view photographs (by Cho Eun-mi) of the opening.

3) My Dear Malevich, Beyond the Borders (The Guest section) (Group Show), Novosibirsk Municipal Center of Fine Arts, Novosibirsk, Russia, November 3 - 21, 2010.

4) MDM-1 [My Dear Malevich], Homage: Contemporary Art in Digital Media (Group Show), Art Institute of California, San Diego, California, U.S.A., October 8 - November 8, 2010.

5) My Dear Malevich and Pixelscapes: First and Second Generations, The H Gallery, Houston, Texas, U.S.A., July 10 - August 9, 2010.

6) MDM-1 (My Dear Malevich), Homage: Contemporary Art in Digital Media (Group Show), Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery, Escondido, California, U.S.A., July 9 - August 21, 2010.

Catalog:

7) Novosibirsk State Art Museum (as a part of the aniGma-4, Fourth Novosibirsk International Festival of Digital Imaging), Novosibirsk, Russia (May 10 - June 10, 2007).

Comment by Andrey Martynov, Curator, Novosibirsk State Art Museum, Novosibirsk, Russia:

"Chambers' Pixelscapes have been exhibited in Novosibirsk and also at the Solovetsky Monastery. He is working with the idea of a small unit or cell of an image, which shows a fantastical world through print and animation. This new black-and-white series - 'My Dear Malevich' - is a part of the 'Fourth Novosibirsk International Festival of Digital Imaging' at the Novosibirsk State Art Museum (May 10 - June 10, 2007). It is a pleasure for us to show this series that stems from the Suprematist traditions of the great Malevich.

Kazimir Malevich was a remarkable artist of the 20th century who looked deeply into the philosophical content of images. Chambers uses this same philosophy in his long-term art projects such as Pixelscapes. And what is especially pleasant is that he brings his understanding and knowledge to art students at Zhaoqing University in China who are just beginning their artistic studies."

8) Art Gallery, Fine Arts Department, Zhaoqing University, Zhaoqing, China (April 2 - 15, 2007).

Comments:

"JD Jarvis' review is a most essential discourse of not only this historically portentous exhibition but of you and your oeuvre stratagem, an investiture of nearly ineffable wonder that says virtual past-present-future brought to the e-world and now the reality of tangible documentation in a venue that Malevich would have been proud to share with you." HJB

"Synchronicity is alive and well as I view your Malevich exhibition ... so reminiscent of the work and intentions of my husband's work, Laurent Boccara." SB

"What you are doing looks very exciting." CL

"It's an elegant idea and well executed." ST

"While China itself is going through a kind of postproduction remix phase, I'm interested in the way you are remixing the digitized version of Malevich, as an image, within the traditional context of both gallery and object, while highlighting the pixel as the primary visual element in the making of new work. Congrats on your show! The documentation of it makes it look very exciting and I am intrigued by it." MA

"Kazimir Malevich covers a wide range of styles and color/black-white imaging. Tom Chambers has isolated and deepened that side of Malevich's non-representational and devilishly focused square (and what we now see in the pixel). The presentation is austere with no one -- unlike Chambers' other online shows with many others in dynamic interaction, but rather we see reflections of the same images in the ceiling and the floor, creating a space not unlike the George Lucas sci-fi THX-1138 movie. The absence of people in the exhibition rooms mirrors their absence in the imagery.

But is this calm? Is it provocative? Are there any emotions? Malevich's striving to strip away content associations may have been poured into his work, but how a viewer sees these images can be quite otherwise. So, too, Chambers' images.

Tom Chambers has created a dialogue running back and forth in time about this very seductive side of making images. Of course, should Chambers continue down this path, what will happen to the pixel analogy when he chances upon Malevich's black circle? I'm sure we will all be delighted." JN

"As an old believer in the singular importance of Tom Chambers' creative explorations with regard to driving a leading-edge stream of evolution of the digital-still-image-as-art into this new millennium, I am absolutely delighted to see him go back to print after the fascinating Pixelscapes diversion, with this stunning new exhibition, 'My Dear Malevich'. Not that I know anything much about fine arts, but in this rising new era of burgeoning empowerment of individuals by technology across all streams of human endeavour, all over the world, when the more popular leading-edges of many creative streams are often about little more than fascination and infatuation with the shiny new baubles of new mediums in themselves, it is important to so manifest and be reminded that high art should certainly derive from, and serve, much deeper folds in the brains of any individual, community and generation." SB

"Your art epitomizes the double meaning of the word: a fragment, an incised part of something already in existence ... and just because of this incision ... is an injury to the finished surface, to the tangle of writing or a finished picture. It is the same and not the same at the same time. Once the signs are scars, then the wounds will tell tales of some non-alleviated history. The post-human art of our era has moved the farthest away from the ideal which reached the calmness of total emptiness by putting instincts to silence ... consequently, your Pixelcapes." IH

"Tom Chambers is blessed with an uncanny ability to marry high-concept with visual beauty. He demonstrates his ability to do so in his 'My Dear Malevich' exhibition, where he riffs on the work of the Suprematist artist, Kazimir Malevich, to create wonderfully intriguing Pixelscapes. Chambers' Pixelscapes merge the analog and digital worlds, and merge the past with the present to create a new kind of imagery that brings wall-based visual art into the 21st century. His work is interesting to think about, and pleasant to look at. What more can we ask for from the art on our walls?" AR

"I very much enjoy the critical, analytical and aesthetic nature of the artwork. As you are aware, much of my own work is an exploration of the digitally minimal and the fundamental structures that comprise media technology - so I feel well-placed to understand and comment on your artistic concerns in this area. I feel that many contemporary artists working in New Media utilise the pixel without understanding its core essence in terms of both technology that creates it and the connections it has to the art historical past.

I did not have such negative feelings when considering this body of work. I find the premise of the work is a relevant extension of the Suprematism and Minimalism art movements of the 20th century, in which you revisit critical explorations from the past and augment your investigations with present day technologies and context." MTM

"At the beginning of the 20th century Kazimir Malevich was at the forefront of a revolution in art. His work took chances and explored new directions in representation. Malevich was an experimenter, pushing art to the edges.

Today, at the beginning of the 21st Century, Tom Chambers' work bridges 100 years of art history and creates connections between his own ground-breaking work as a digital artist and the ground-breaking work of Malevich. Chambers' Pixelscapes explore issues of digital representation as well as refer back to the seminal dialog about representation that Malevich and his contemporaries initiated. Look beneath the elegant simplicity of the art of Malevich and Chambers and you will find the essential building blocks of art. Look closely at Chambers' images and you will find the building blocks of today's digital revolution." HO

"My first thought upon seeing your powerful show in black and white was an homage to the 'Tomb of the Unknown Soldier' and also the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn novel, 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich', where with the least amount of freedom and the smallest bit of material, the hero saves a bit of comb and some trinkets. His soul is still his soul, and he can make something of nothing - no color, no material - and no one can take that from him. Stark? Yes. Art? Yes! Congratulations!" CH

"Black Square (1915), consisting of nothing more than a black square on a white field ... one of Kazimir Malevich's earliest works into Suprematism ... becomes the starting point, ninety two years later, for an exhibition by Tom Chambers simply titled My Dear Malevich.

This is not necessarily new work for Chambers. In 2000 he explored the pixel in what has become his ongoing exploration under the namesake of Pixelscapes (A pixel [picture element] being a single point in a graphic image, an abstract sample.). In his article, 'The pixel as Minimal Art', reference is made to Malevich's 'Black Square' (1915) and 'Black Cross' (1923). What is new about 'My Dear Malevich', is Chambers removing the pixel from the screen and placing it on a gallery wall as large digital images, a transfer that becomes an all at once opportunity to see the totality of the work. To enter a space and see larger than life pixels displayed one after the other in all their complex diversity allows for a truly meditative experience. What is more interesting is Chambers' starting point for the project, a photograph of Malevich in which he turned the telescope around and concentrated on a small area of the image. By enlarging this one small area, the pixels become a vast universe of the nonobjective out of which emerged the exhibition 'My Dear Malevich'." BH

"I do not know much about Minimalism, but I am interested in finding the basic unit of thought, learning, intelligence, and personality. Where the realm of thought intersects with the laws of physics that govern this plane of existence may hold the answers to the nature of human experience including art appreciation and other high levels of thinking." BS

"A refreshing extrapolation of the pixel, and it appears to be well accepted [balanced] all around." CB

"Fascinating project - image reduced to its fundamental core, pointing with delicious lyricism to the singularity of the source." PC

"Malevich is a traditional resource of art. Chambers uses it like a Chinese Artist uses the traditional form of brush painting. The abstract works of Malevich were studied by Chinese artists 10 to 15 years ago. Why did this study cease? I think because this kind of art doesn't have Chinese roots. We can become enlightened again through Chambers' exhibition. Most contemporary Chinese artists do not address this form with ease like their predecessors." XH

"Tom R. Chambers is a blend of the West and the East ... frank and charming with a disposition of an Eastern writer ... and this combination seems consistent when viewing his early photographic works, which are full of humanity, morality and caring.

His recent creative work, 'My Dear Malevich' has a very different connotation: bright and fashionable, which conjures up skin texture within a multi-colored grid or graph. The meaning is manifested within a Western world's characteristics of materialism, public display and desire with curious, affective tonal range and realm of imagination ... it's beckoning.

Chambers seems to want to elucidate a subject ... make a significant attempt at clarifying a notion. His appreciation of Kazimir Malevich's Suprematist artwork is only a way or an excuse to present an artistic trend through iconography that borders on 'religion'. The Pixelscapes that comprise the project represent a collective expression.

The subtle grays, blacks and whites combined with the cross symbol remind us of a certain 'awe'. The artworks transmit a solemnity and moving atmosphere. The expression is direct and effective, which is the most obvious characteristic of contemporary art." WN

"Tom R. Chambers has been an iconoclastic digital artist and passionate teacher of digital art for many years. He is most recently visiting lecturer on digital and new media art and digital photography in the Fine Arts Department of Zhaoqing University in Zhaoqing, China. His own art is a celebration of digital abstraction and reductionism in a long series of works that he calls 'Pixelscapes'. His most recent series is called 'My Dear Malevich' and is a tribute to the celebrated Ukranian-born artist Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935) who was founder of Suprematism, a non-representational art that featured geometric forms and shapes. These new images are a confirmation of Chambers' dedication to minimalist art and to the pixel, in all its potential and limitations." DA

"I really like 'My Dear Malevich'. I think the concept behind 'Pixelscapes' is fascinating. It is also interesting that Malevich is important for new media/net artists." LL

9) Museum of Computer Art (MOCA) (April - 2007).

Other:

Rhizome.org announcement re: "My Dear Malevich" at the Novosibirsk State Art Museum, Novosibirsk, Russia.

NewmediaFIX.net announcement re: "My Dear Malevich" at the Novosibirsk State Art Museum, Novosibirsk, Russia.

Online version


MDM 3D

The pieces ("My Dear Malevich") (2D) shown in the "Suprematism Infinity: Reflections, Interpretations, Explorations" exhibition (Atrium Gallery, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York City, New York [December 10, 2015]; accepted for the Russian American Cultural Center (RACC) Art Collection, New York City) are transformed 3-dimensionally as "ARCHITECTONS" in keeping with Kazimir Malevich's 3D work.

Chambers has taken the "black" out of the pieces except for shading and shadows, and what he likes about this Suprematist journey is its origin within a digitized portrait of Malevich magnified to reveal the pixel configurations as 2D representations, and then extruded as 3D representations (sculptures).

"New architecture is distinguished from Suprematist architecture by the latter and also by the order of elements in Suprematist architecture. This is clearly felt when one compares the two forms of Western new architecture and Suprematist architectonics. The architectonics — Alpha of horizontal building and Gota of vertical — reveal those features, which, it seems to me, ought to be in the new architecture. Because of its formal similarity contemporary architecture may be divided into characteristic types: individual and collective.

New architecture, as a form, I attribute to collective elaboration, on which not only architects but also artists who are basically painters are working. The collective of new architecture consists of a large number of people. This latter fact makes me think that our architectural period has even in immediate link with antique architecture, in its methods and even in its attitude to life. In the classical architecture of the past there was also an invariable forming element present, which was worked on by many architects.

They were united by the same objective forming element that we now find in the new Suprematist architecture. Now, as then, with the help of the same forming element which creates an architectural expression of life, the architect is able to reveal his own personality. This latter feature alters neither form nor style but merely produces an individual nuance." (Kazimir Malevich, Painting and the Problem of Architecture, 1928)

Chambers exhibited "My Dear Malevich" along with Max Semakov's "Architecton" models as a part of "Black Square Interpretations and Other Suprematist Explorations", CaviArt Gallery, Russian Cultural Center, Houston, Texas, March 6 - April 7, 2015. Semakov and his MiMs Art group are inspired by Suprematist architectons transformed into elements of recreational architecture to comprise "Suprematist Park" (project based in Moscow, Russia). These models are displayed in the poster (photographs and design by Chambers) below:


MDM KINETIC-GLITCH ( https://vimeo.com/221787210)

The images from the "My Dear Malevich" project are video-glitched to provide a kinetic interpretation. Kazimir Malevich might have approved of this "tech/digital" approach (from static to kinetic) to create SENSATION. The static forms break into a multitude of "other" geometric forms (hybrids) via the video glitching; and these forms "move about" to create this dynamism.



BLACK SQUARE INTERPRETATIONS (BSI) ( "Black Square Interpretations")

Chambers works with Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" to celebrate and challenge this iconic, Suprematist art form. It was first shown in "The Last Futurist Exhibition 0,10" in 1915. The work is invoked by critics, historians, curators, and artists as the "zero point of painting", referring to the painting's historical significance and paraphrasing of Malevich. (Wp)


BSI-1/BLACK SQUARE UNMASKED ( "Black Square Unmasked")

According to Kazimir Malevich, the originator of Suprematism and creator of "Black Square": "To the Suprematist, the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless; the significant thing is feeling, as such, quite apart from the environment in which it is called forth."

Above, left to right: BSU-1 (Art Nouveau - "F. Champenois Imprimeur-Éditeur" by Alfons Mucha, 1897); BSU-2 (Barbizon School - "The Old Oak" by Jules Dupré, c1870); BSU-3 (Biedermeier - "Corpus Christi Morning" by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, 1857); BSU-4 (Cloisonnism - "Vision After the Sermon" by Paul Gauguin, 1888).

Suprematism represents an anti-materialist, anti-utilitarian philosophy. Malevich continues to state, "Art no longer cares to serve the state and religion, it no longer wishes to illustrate the history of manners, it wants to have nothing further to do with the object, as such, and believes that it can exist, in and for itself, without 'things' (that is, the "time-tested well-spring of life")." (Part II of The Non-Objective World, 1927)

To unmask "Black Square" is to remove this equalizer of all art movements, to reveal such (art movements) as insignificant in the mind of Malevich on behalf of Suprematism. The only true reality for Malevich - absolute non-objectivity. He states, "A blissful sense of liberating non-objectivity drew me forth into a 'desert', where nothing is real except feeling." (Part II of The Non-Objective World, 1927)

Exhibition:

"Black Square Unmasked", "Black Square Interpretations and Other Suprematist Explorations" (two-person show with Max Semakov), CaviArt Gallery, Russian Cultural Center, Houston, Texas, March 6 - April 7, 2015.


BSI-2/BEYOND BLACK SQUARE ( "Beyond Black Square")

This project is a video that moves Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" to the next level - Neosuprematism. It also simulates the evolution of the bar code system.

Kazimir Malevich:

"This was no 'empty square' which I had exhibited but rather the feeling of non-objectivity. I realized that the 'thing' and the 'concept' were substituted for feeling and understood the falsity of the world of will and idea. Suprematism is the rediscovery of pure art which, in the course of time, had become obscured by the accumulation of 'things'. But the nature and meaning of artistic creation continue to be misunderstood, as does the nature of creative work in general, because feeling, after all, is always and everywhere the one and only source of every creation. The emotions which are kindled in the human being are stronger than the human being himself - they must at all costs find an outlet, they must take on overt form, they must be communicated or put to work."

Tom R. Chambers:

"Moving Malevich's 'Black Square' beyond - particularly in kinetic form - compounds the feeling of non-objectivity. The 'Black Square' becomes the void in piecemeal fashion releasing those emotions that he refers to as being 'kindled in the human being' to even a higher degree. They have indeed 'found an outlet' and 'taken on overt form' - Neosuprematism."

Stills (at five-second intervals) from the video are seen below.

Exhibitions:

"Beyond Black Square" ("Black Square Interpretations"), Digital Art Community (DAC), SIGGRAPH 2017, Los Angeles, California, July 30 - August 3, 2017.

"Beyond Black Square", "Black Square Interpretations and Other Suprematist Explorations" (two-person show with Max Semakov), CaviArt Gallery, Russian Cultural Center, Houston, Texas, March 6 - April 7, 2015.


BSI-3/RED SWEEP BLACK SQUARE ( "Red Sweep Black Square")

This project is a video/installation piece re: Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" and "Red Square", both exhibited in 1915. They approximate being one and the same, but Malevich considered his "Black Square" to be the true icon - its zero form - for Suprematism. In Malevich's system, the movement from black-and-white Suprematism to colored and finally to white Suprematism was indicated by three squares: a black, a red, and a white one. (Vitebsk, Aleksandra Shatskikh, 2007 [1917-1922])

The first time Malevich exhibited his "Red Square", in 1915, it was subtitled "Pictorial Realism of a Peasant in Two Dimensions". During the Vitebsk years, the representation of the "Red Square" was politicized. Lazar Lissitzky had a hand in this Bolshevization of the Suprematist figure. He turned the "Red Square" into the Unovis seal. However, Malevich and all the other Suprematist-Unovis members deemed the "Black Square" to be the true symbol of Unovis. (Vitebsk, Aleksandra Shatskikh, 2007 [1917-1922])

The sweeping of the color red acknowledges "Red Square" as a Suprematist figure, but there is always a return to the true icon, "Black Square" for Suprematism. Stills (at six-second intervals [first sweep]) from the video are seen below.

Exhibitions:

1) "Red Sweep Black Square" ("Black Square Interpretations"), "Suprematism Infinity: Reflections, Interpretations, Explorations" (group show), Atrium Gallery, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York City, New York, U.S.A., December 1, 2015 - January 22, 2016.

Note: this exhibition is in conjunction with the "100 Years of Suprematism" conference, Shapiro Center, Columbia University, New York City, December 11 - 12, 2015. It is organized in celebration of the centenary of Kazimir Malevich’s invention of Suprematism and the first public display of his Suprematist paintings in December, 1915. The two-day conference is organized in association with the Harriman Institute, the Lazar Khidekel Society, and SHERA. It features presentations by an international and renowned group of scholars. Among them are leading researchers in the field from the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The event includes a presentation of "Kazimir Malevich: Letters and Documents, Memoirs and Criticism" (London: Tate, 2015). Stills from "Red Sweep Black Square" were donated to the Russian American Cultural Center (RACC) Art Collection, New York City (letter).

2) "Red Sweep Black Square", "Black Square Interpretations and Other Suprematist Explorations" (two-person show with Max Semakov), CaviArt Gallery, Russian Cultural Center, Houston, Texas, March 6 - April 7, 2015.


BSI-4/BLACK SQUARE EMBELLISHED ( "Black Square Embellished")

This project reflects Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" after glitch treatment. This treatment is the embellishment of "Black Square" in each case, and it could be argued that it is also the defacement of the same. Is this act of changing the appearance or surface of "Black Square" for better or worse, or does it matter? Would Malevich disapprove of these digital renditions since he once stated, "There's nothing more after Black Square."?

Things evolve, and opinions change, and Chambers considers "Black Square Embellished" an evolution of sorts ... a move from Malevich's Suprematism towards Neo-Suprematism. There are those out there who might even interpret these pieces as Anti-Suprematism.

Malevich's "Black Square" changed the interpretation of art ... "Black Square Embellished" changes the interpretation of "Black Square".

Exhibition:

"Black Square Embellished" ("Black Square Interpretations") (group show), D-Art Gallery (July 2019 - June 2020), 23rd International Information Visualization Conference, University of Paris, Paris, France (July 2-5, 2019) and 16th International Conference Computer Graphics, Imaging and Visualization Conference, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia (July 16-19). Both conferences organized in London, England. (https://dart20192.wixsite.com/mysite/tom-chambers)


BSI-5/BLACK SQUARE SPACE ( "Black Square Space")

Chambers utilzes images of the Universe (courtesy of HubbleSite [http://hubblesite.org]) in combination with Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" to confirm his (Malevich) interest in Astronomy and connection of his Suprematist work with the Universe. The "Space" images have been pixellated to show abstractions - configurations of pixels - running throughout the "Black Square" and beyond ("white abyss"). Malevich's "Black Square" becomes monolithic/monumental. Malevich called himself, "President of s(S)pace".

According to "The Cosmos and the Canvas", Aleksandra Shatskikh, Malevich at Tate Modern, July 30, 2014 (Tate Etc., Issue 31, Summer 2014):

Kazimir Malevich called his abstract compositions Suprematism, which in its first stage meant the dominance of color energy and its transformations in painting. For him, the life of color as such was linked to the Universe: objectless color generated the sensation of its objectless, imageless being. According to him, the "white abyss" of the background, whose whiteness was conditioned by the extreme incandescence of energetic tension in the Universe, was the manifestation of s(S)pace on Suprematist canvases. In late 1917 the painted elements became increasingly dynamic. Their sharp edges cut into the whiteness, and as the concentration of colour decreases, the boundary between figure and background disappears. Malevich called this process "dissolution", a term with Cosmic connotations: "The Cosmos is dissolution. The Earth is a small splitting." Through the dissolution of color by the "white abyss" in Suprematism, the phenomenon of non-material time, linked to non-figurative space, appeared more often. In a 1918 poem, Malevich developed this idea:

"Each shape has a real type of time and the coloration of colors is the power of the time's oscillation, time's movement creates shape while simultaneously coloring it and consequently the speed of time can be defined by color."

Exhibition:

"Black Square Space" ("Black Square Interpretations") (article), International Digital Art Gallery (D-ART), 22nd International Conference on Information Visualization and 15th Conference Computer Graphics, Imaging and Visualization, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy, July 10-13, 2018. Organized in London, England. (https://dart20189.wixsite.com/iv-2018/tom-chambers)


BSI-6/BLACK SQUARE DESECRATION ( "Black Square Desecration")

Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" (1915) receives glitch treatment - perceived as "desecration" - and perhaps embraced by this Suprematist if he were alive today. Suprematism is based upon "the supremacy of pure artistic feeling" (sensation), and the kinetic glitch treatment enhances these emotions via pixel reconfigurations, the introduction of color fields and movement. The sound component complements the feeling. This video piece could be viewed as Neo-Suprematism.

Exhibition:

"Black Square Desecration" ("Black Square Interpretations"), Official Selection for Viewing, Experimental Animation and Video Art Program, LINOLEUM International Contemporary Animation and Media-Art Festival, Ukraine, September 28 - October 1, 2017.


BSI-7/BLACK SQUARE MERGE: NATURE ( "Black Square Merge: Nature")

This project is a continuation of Chambers' experimentation with Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" and Suprematism. He merges photographs of Nature with "Black Square" to create a zone of Suprematism via the pixel(s). The merge results in a loss of color (variations of gray including achromatic grayscale shades, which lie between white and black colors). The project is in keeping with Malevich's Suprematism - the feeling of non-objectivity - the creation of a sense of bliss and wonder via abstraction.

"Black Square Merge: Nature" becomes one of homage a second time - first, "My Dear Malevich" - by utilizing photographs of Nature to explore at the pixel level - transformation into aesthetic fields of "Pixelscapes" via the merge of Malevich's "Black Square" - to rekindle his thoughts about creation. He states, "No phenomenon is mortal, and this means not only the body but the idea as well, a symbol that one is eternally reincarnated in another form which actually exists in the conscious and unconscious person." In his book, The Non-Objective World, Malevich described the inspiration for his "Black Square". He states, "I felt only night within me, and it was then that I conceived the new art, which I called Suprematism." "Black Square Merge: Nature" represents this reincarnation that he talks about; and the loss of color of the pixels due to the merge of the color photograph with his "Black Square" conjures up his feelings of "night within me" and their consequent creation of the new art, Suprematism.

Review by JD Jarvis, Art Critic/Artist and coauthor of Going Digital: The Practice and Vision of Digital Artists (ISBN 1-59200-918-2) (USA):

"Well over a decade ago, Tom R. Chambers began to look at the pixel within the context of Abstraction and Minimalism:

The Pixel As Minimalist Art

His work in this vein draws our attention to the visual singularity that makes up everything we see in the digital universe. Since the pixel equates to what we call a 'subatomic particle' within our physical universe, Chambers' work engages us directly with the feeling that the Russian Suprematist described as the non-objective spirit that pervades everything and pays due homage their belief in the ability of Abstraction to convey 'the supremacy of pure feeling in creative art'. Indeed, an earlier edition within this long series of work explored the visual meaning behind the works and words of Suprematist painter and theorist Kazimir Malevich:

My Dear Malevich

In this latest edition of images and prints Chambers seeks to metaphorically merge inner and outer worlds by presenting photorealistic nature as it transitions into digital abstraction at the pixel level. 'Black Square Merge: Nature' is precisely what it says it is. We see, almost in cinematic form the movement from a picture of reality to a picture of pure abstraction. What this viewer finds most interesting is that area of transition between these absolutes. It satisfies me that in this grey area where nature begins to break down and abstraction appears to be taking hold that we find the greatest latitude and possibility for creative energy.

I was overcome, at first, by the sheer number of images in this edition, but when I saw on my computer screen a thumbnail of a large number of these works gathered on a single page I realized that each image is like a jewel and that the effect will be quite wonderful when the physical prints of these images are finally displayed back in the realm of physical reality. In such a display we will find ourselves inside that journey that Malevich described and which Tom R. Chambers so elegantly materializes."

Exhibition:

"Black Square Merge: Nature", "Black Square Interpretations and Other Suprematist Explorations" (two-person show with Max Semakov), CaviArt Gallery, Russian Cultural Center, Houston, Texas, March 6 - April 7, 2015.


BSI-8/BLACK SQUARE CROSS REVOLUTION ( "Black Square Cross Revolution")

This project is a video/installation piece that contrasts the Suprematist works of Kazimir Malevich with the Russian Revolution of 1917.

In 1915, Kazimir Malevich laid down the foundations of Suprematism when he published his manifesto, From Cubism to Suprematism. In 1915–1916 he worked with other Suprematist artists in a peasant/artisan co-operative in Skoptsi and Verbovka village. Malevich exhibited his first "Black Square" at the "Last Futurist Exhibition 0,10" in Petrograd (Saint Petersburg) in 1915. A black square placed against the sun appeared for the first time in the 1913 scenery designs for the Futurist opera, "Victory over the Sun".

After the October Revolution (1917), Malevich became a member of the Collegium on the Arts of Narkompros, the Commission for the Protection of Monuments and the Museums Commission (all from 1918–1919). He taught at the Vitebsk Practical Art School in the USSR (now part of Belarus) (1919–1922), the Leningrad Academy of Arts (1922–1927), the Kiev State Art Institute (1927–1929), and the House of the Arts in Leningrad (1930).

He wrote the book, The World as Non-Objectivity, which was published in Munich in 1926 and translated into English in 1959. In it, he outlines his Suprematist theories.

In 1923, Malevich was appointed director of Petrograd State Institute of Artistic Culture. He painted his "Black Cross" the same year. The institute was forced to close in 1926 after a Communist party newspaper called it "a government-supported monastery" rife with "counterrevolutionary sermonizing and artistic debauchery." The Soviet state was by then heavily promoting a politically sustainable style of art called Socialist Realism—a style Malevich had spent his entire career repudiating.

Malevich's assumption that a shifting in the attitudes of the Soviet authorities toward the modernist art movement would take place after the death of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky's fall from power was proven correct in a couple of years, when the Stalinist regime turned against forms of abstraction, considering them a type of "bourgeois" art, that could not express social realities. As a consequence, many of his works were confiscated and he was banned from creating and exhibiting similar art.

Critics derided Malevich's art as a negation of everything good and pure: love of life and love of nature. The Westernizer artist and art historian Alexandre Benois was one such critic. Malevich responded that art can advance and develop for art's sake alone, saying, "art does not need us, and it never did". (Wp)


BSI-9/BOURGEOIS BLACK SQUARE ( "Bourgeois Black Square")

This project is a video/installation piece re: the Stalinist regime that turned against forms of abstraction, considering them a type of "bourgeois" art, that could not express social realities. Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" was considered such, and many of his works were confiscated. He was also banned from creating and exhibiting similar art. (Wp)

Critics of the regime spoke of Malevich and his art with contempt stating that his work was a negation of everything good and pure, love of life and love of nature. Malevich responded that art can advance and develop for art's sake alone, saying, "art does not need us, and it never did," thus the premise for this video/installation piece.


BSI-10/Black Square TransFORMations ( "Black Square TransFORMations")

This project is a video of kinetic forms within Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" zone. They are in keeping with some of his Suprematist forms that seem to float and simulate aerial views. Malevich states: "The square changes and creates new forms, the elements of which can be classified in one way or another depending upon the feeling which gave rise to them."

Exhibition:

"Black Square TransFORMations", "Black Square Interpretations and Other Suprematist Explorations" (two-person show with Max Semakov), CaviArt Gallery, Russian Cultural Center, Houston, Texas, March 6 - April 7, 2015.


BSI-11/BLACK SQUARE ROTATION BLACK CIRCLE ( "Black Square Rotation Black Circle")

This project is a video/installation piece re: the transformation of Kazimir Malevich's "Black Square" to "Black Circle" via rotation or movement. The evolution from one geometric form to another - square to circle - via kinetics (movement) is in keeping with Malevich's description of the artworks as "new icons for the aesthetics of modern art" within the art movement, Suprematism.


He created this Suprematist grammar based on fundamental geometric forms - in particular, the square and the circle. In the 0.10 Exhibition in 1915 (the Dobychina Art Bureau at Marsovo Pole, Petrograd [Saint Petersburg]), Malevich exhibited his "Black Square" and "Black Circle". (Wp)

Keep your focus centered on "Black Square" to experience the conjuration of "Black Circle".


THE PRIMORDIAL PIXEL ( "The Primordial Pixel")

These pixelscapes are similar to Color Field painting that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. This movement places less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and action in favor of an overall consistency of form and process. In Color Field painting, color is freed from objective context, and it becomes the subject in itself (Themes in American Art: Abstraction, National Gallery of Art, Web, May 9, 2010).

Color Field painting emerged out of the attempts of several artists to devise a modern, mythic art. Seeking to connect with the primordial emotions locked in ancient myths, rather than the symbols themselves, they sought a new style that would do away with any suggestion of illustration (theartstory.org/movement-color-field-painting). Jackson Pollock, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhardt and Arshile Gorky (in his last works) are among the prominent abstract expressionist painters identified as being connected to Color Field painting in the 1950s and 1960s (Smithsonian Museum Exhibits Color Field Painting, December 7, 2008).

By the late 1950s and early 1960s, young artists began to break away stylistically from Abstract Expressionism experimenting with new ways of making pictures and new ways of handling paint and color. In the early 1960s, several and various new movements in abstract painting were related to each other. Some of the new styles and movements that appeared in the early 1960s as responses to Abstract Expressionism were called: Washington Color School, Hard-edge painting, Geometric Abstraction, Minimalism, and Color Field (Smithsonian Museum Exhibits Color Field Painting, December 7, 2008).

Chambers' pixelscapes below - and his earlier works with the pixel - are an attempt at equating this picture element with the various aforementioned movements.

Exhibition:

"PP-1, PP-2", "The First Catskill Digital Art Show" (group show), The Atelier Progressif Creative Art Space, Catskill, New York, U.S.A., March 11 - April 8, 2016.


THE UNCONSCIOUS GLITCH ( "The Unconscious Glitch")

This project equates the "glitch" with Carl Jung's "archetypes" via the repetition of a portrait of Carl Jung and variations of its "glitched" image.

In Jungian psychology, archetypes are highly developed elements of the collective unconscious. Jung understood archetypes as universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective unconscious and are the psychic counterpart of instinct. They are inherited potentials which are actualized when they enter consciousness as images or manifest in behavior on interaction with the outside world. They are autonomous and hidden forms which are transformed once they enter consciousness and are given particular expression by individuals and their cultures.

A "glitch" is a disruption in a system. Also, Glitch Art - the aestheticization of digital or analog errors - is a current, viable art form that includes workshops, lectures, performances, installations and screenings worldwide. (Wp)


TOM SERIES ( "Tom Series")

Chambers utilizes the self-portrait to project his life experiences. His portrait remains constant with the experience (situation) indicated as a change or flux in the image. The accompanying text details his experience. The project is not only an artwork about Chambers' life - biography (visual/textual) - but also a reference tool, a study of history through his existence.

He put together another project, "Descendants 350" in 1986 that used a similar approach to the study of history (Rhode Island's early history) by generating/displaying documentary portraits of the Descendants of the Founding Fathers along with text about their (Ancestors') trials/tribulations and contributions in the making of the State. This connection of the past and present - using imagery of contemporaries (living individuals) to create a sense of immediacy - in both projects, "Tom Series" and "Descendants 350" creates more interest and excitement in studying a subject ... History, in this case. The constancy of the same portrait (Chambers' image) indicates a human being's existence within a world/an environment that's ever influencing and changing the psyche and at some point in time - later (twilight) years for this individual, the psyche begins to take control and evaluate the process - vis-ŕ-vis, "Tom Series".

Viewers of the same generation will probably begin to travel down their own personal memory lanes that may or may not cross his own. As they look at a particular image and read the text of "Tom Series", they may very well have had a similar to almost same experience. If not, they might begin to think about what they were doing during that particular time period when he was involved in his particular life activity and even compare their and Chambers' activities - more or less fortunate, happier or unhappier - and other situational aspects that determine the human condition. And for particular viewers, their life experiences might weave in and out of his, creating a subliminal connection - similar to the helix that equates all life at the biochemical level.

Viewers of today's generation - the young generation - will get a hint of what has come before them and might be ahead of them in an immediate sense. "Tom Series" becomes a litmus test for this generation to begin to gauge their own lives - an indicator of pitfalls to avoid and opportunities to take advantage of - a lifeline (in palmistry) to begin to evaluate their own in a projected sense and as it might relate to their parents'/grandparents' lives. It might even bring the young generation closer to their parents/grandparents, and they (younger generation) might want to know more about them (parents/grandparents) and the older generation, generally.

Chambers regrets that he didn't get to know his parents better (see Jean Tom and Joe Tom). And he regrets that he didn't share in his son's childhood (see Father Tom). Maybe this is the main reason for "Tom Series", and he hopes this series will have universal appeal like his project, "Mother's 45s" had in 1990 (Gallery One, Providence, Rhode Island, USA) and 1992 (part of "Parents" exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, USA). This project is about Chambers' mother, but as the viewer experiences "Mother's 45s", he/she is probably thinking about his/her mother as well.

Exhibitions:

"Tom Series" (First Love Tom, Apple Tom, Apollo Tom), Face to Face (group show), Modern Fine Arts Museum, Rostov-on-Don, Russia, August 18, 2017.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Tolijatti State Art Museum, Russia, October - December, 2015.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Perm State Art Gallery, Russia, May - July, 2015.

"Tom Series" (Tube Tom), The Selfie Show: An Art Exhibition of Self-portraits (group show), Museum of New Art, Troy, Michigan, U.S.A., May - June, 2015.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Villa Ichon, Bremen, Germany, November - December, 2014.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Samara State Art Museum, Russia, May - July, 2014.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), SFA Galleries, Nacogdoches, Texas, U.S.A., September - October, 2013.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Photo Festival, Arezzo, Italy, September - October, 2012.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Manomentr Gallery, Moscow, Russia, February, 2012.

Installation examples are seen above re: "Tom Series" in Russia as a part of "The Face: The Evolution of Portrait Photography" curated by Andrey Martynov.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Eumeria Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, December 12 - 17, 2011.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Rosphoto Exhibition Centre for Photography, St. Petersburg, Russia, November 25 - December 1, 2011.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Gallery, American University of Paris, Paris, France, October 11 - November 7, 2011.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Metenkov Museum of photography, Ekaterinburg, Russia, August 17 - September 18, 2011.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Chelyabinsk Museum of arts, Chelyabinsk, Russia, July 5 - August 9, 2011.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Roba Gallery, Omsk, Russia, June 18 - July 6, 2011.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Krasnoyarsk cultural Museum Centre, Russia, March 31 - May 22, 2011.

"Tom Series" (Hometown Tom, Tube Tom, Apple Tom, Photo Tom), The FACE (group show), Novosibirsk State Museum of Local History, Novosibirsk, Russia, February 16 - March 14, 2011.

"Tom Series" (China Tom, Tao Tom, Hometown Tom, AHS Tom [instructor invitation]), SELF/SOUL (Joint Student Exhibition, Zhaoqing University and University of Louisville [Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.]) (group show), Fine Arts Department, Zhaoqing University, Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province, China, December 1 - 25, 2006.

"Tom Series" (China Tom, Tao Tom, Hometown Tom, Target Tom), Faculty Exhibition (group show), Fine Arts Department, Zhaoqing University, Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province, China, November 25 - December 1, 2006.

Tom Series book purchased by the Hilton M. Briggs Library, South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota, U.S.A.

Term paper on Tom Chambers (Art Appreciation for Honors; a 100-level, lower division class, where students have chosen an artist on the theme of interconnectivity, and analyzed a selection of works.) by Peter DeGroot, Art student of Dr. Leda Cempellin, Assistant Professor, History of Art, Department of Visual Arts, South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota, U.S.A., 2009.


DIGITAL/NEW MEDIA ART PROGRAM ( Digital/New Media Art Program)

Tom R. Chambers joined the Fine Arts Department, Zhaoqing University, Zhaoqing, China to develop and teach a Digital/New Media Art Program (2005-2007).

He and his students collaborated with Beijing Film Academy (Beijing, China), Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.), Maine College of Art (Portland, Maine, U.S.A.), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, New York, U.S.A.), National Chengchi University (Taipei, Taiwan), Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S.A.) and University of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.) in joint student projects/exhibitions, off- and on-line. (Photos by Cho Eunmi.)


IDAA ( International Digital Art Awards (IDAA))

Chambers was Executive Committee Member and Juror for the International Digital Art Awards (IDAA) (2003-2005). He was instrumental in expanding the content of the IDAA to include new media art, and served as online New Media Director (2004-2005). He was also instrumental in helping to bring the 2005 IDAA Exhibition to Beijing, China under the auspices of the Beijing Film Academy. (Photos by Cho Eunmi.)

Chambers' IDAA Juror Statements follow:

2003 IDAA Exhibition:

"It seems, at least in this Juror's mind, that this year's IDAA is more Fine Arts than in previous years. This can be debated, of course, and bring up the question, "What comprises the Fine Arts?", but my point is that there's an overall increase in higher planes of thought with a high degree of technical expertise to convey such (better/above). Because of this, Digital Art - within the confines of this IDAA - is evolving in the direction that I think is needed for acceptance and sustenance within higher circles.

What are these higher circles, and is it important for Digital Art to attain this acceptance and sustenance? They are those institutions and other entities that perceive certain genres of Art and their selected works as Fine (better/above) and/or significant as a Movement and/or having an influence; and it is absolutely important for Digital Art to attain such. The Whitney Museum of American Art and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art have already established themselves as visible institutional supporters of this genre. And they will continue to do so with other institutions/entities joining, if Digital Art is created accordingly.

These criteria tend to intimidate, isolate, and create rifts, but Art History has shown with a reasonable degree of consistency that Art accepted and sustained in this fashion has indeed set those standards that are so important in defining the Fine Arts with Its various Movements. And Digital Art should be no different to begin to bring it into the fold and again as indicated by this IDAA.

Much wasted time has been devoted to articles and discussion whether or not Digital Art is Art. I feel that this is a moot point and even ludicrous to bring up this continual blather. Of course It is, and this IDAA reveals It as Fine."

2004 IDAA Exhibition:

"A sweeping view of this year's IDAA reveals mainly a figurative approach concomitant with photo-based and manipulative expression as a part of the digital medium that rivals the same in other media. Abstraction and Abstract Expressionism are alive and well within various works that also rival these movements in other media. As an overview, the exhibition confirms that the digital medium is indeed Fine as it relates to the Arts and in some instances, surpasses other media according to the ability of the creator. In the hands of a Master and evidently seen in many of the works as a part of this IDAA, the digital medium is playing a viable and vital role in redefining and/or expanding the artist's tools for self-expression. As the view is narrowed or focused per work, a great deal of evocation or imaginative re-creation is felt. This is due to the multifaceted nature of the digital medium and how its diverseness is interpreted and utilized. The IDAA 2004 is all of this and possibly more.

From Joaquin Baron Herranz's 'How To Make A Possible Perfect Christmas Tree' to Graham Thompson's 'North-South-East-West', the New Media section of the 2004 IDAA exhibition comprises a good range of movement/sequential-art, which sometimes require participation to move the meaning along. Videos via QuickTime, Flash and series of Web pages project the artists' concepts at a level of expression that equate with installation/experimental art in real space. The New Media entries this year go beyond mere technical wizardry to move towards a level of evocation that can be called Fine Art."

2005 IDAA Exhibition:

"The 2005 IDAA exhibition and prior IDAA exhibitions are good examples of a combination of art and technology in which computer or digital technology has been used in some part of the artistic process. And the works - invited and public - that comprise this year's IDAA bespeak fine art in which the artists are internalizing and/or appealing to the human condition. These emotional and/or intellectual aspects are so apparent in these works that I forget the computer or digital technology, and so it should be forgotten that its remembrance too easily pigeonholes the works at an unacceptable level. This classification according to a mental stereotype that declares this kind of process 'too easy to be art' is indeed grave if not a travesty. And to reiterate the nature of the 2005 IDAA is to say that these works transcend their digital origins and/or treatments to make art."


LITTLE TOMMY ( "Little Tommy")

Chambers utilizes a photograph taken of him around the age of two or so (1949-1950). The kinetic, glitch treatment addresses the mind attempting to grasp the far past - and extreme youth - but just can't get there in full, consequently, the break up of the short-lived image, over and over.

Exhibition:

"Little Tommy", Digital Art Community (DAC), SIGGRAPH 2017, Los Angeles, California, July 30 - August 3, 2017.


PANHANDLE CIRCLE-SQUARE ( "Panhandle Circle-square")

Circle-square crop configurations in the Texas Panhandle (Images courtesy of Google Earth.).

Scholars during the Medieval Period believed that there was something "divine" or "perfect" about the circle. The farmers of today in the Texas Panhandle believe in the practicality and efficiency of the circle via the utilization of center pivot irrigation of their crops.

The "Earth canvases" (Found Art) above are a testament to the farmers' intuitive nature and mathematical skill of working with the dynamics of the circle and within the confines of a square (plot of land) to irrigate their crops. What's interesting is when these circle-square configurations are viewed as aerial landscapes (similar to "Aeropaintings"/Futurism), they rival the works of some non-objective artists.


NEW MEDIA ART WORKSHOP/"NMA@NID" ( New Media Art Workshop/"NMA@NID")

He was invited by the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, India to conduct a three-week, new media art workshop for its new media design graduate students. The workshop culminated in the exhibition, "NMA@NID" (2006). (Photos by Cho Eunmi.)

The no-constraints workshop encouraged self-expression through computer technology within a Fine Arts context. According to Chambers, art created via New Media should follow traditional conventions in the sense of appreciation for existing foundations and their various Art Movements. He has tried to instill this within the workshop process, and an overview of the exhibition sees an emotional component and search for truth that permeate the Fine Arts.

Most of the work on exhibit is time-based or art in motion with some interactivity (Connective Art) and static representation via print. Prabhu's projection of apprehension through Inamdar's take on internal conflict show a surprising maturity of the works on display, particularly since this is the first time for this group of students to pursue self-expression this way.

And Chambers feels that they (the students) have avoided "gimmicks" and "trends" that seem to dominate the attempt of making art in a New Media sense. He considers much of New Media that claims to be art to be nothing more than "blogging", a maze of aptitude exercises and over-intellectualization with little to no concern for aesthetics and the emotional state.

NID New Media Design graduate students: Devyani Arya, Shweta Grampurohit, Basangouda Inamdar, Pallavi Kulkarni, Lakshmi Kumar, Ruchira Parihar, Ruta Potnis, Arul Prabhu, Gayatri Sathe, Abhishek Shrivastava and Eva.


AT THE MOVIES: 1952-1969 ( "At the Movies: 1952-1969")

The video spans 18 years (1952-1969; kindergarten through college) via movie titles that begin to paint/stroke an abstraction conjuring up another title for the piece: "Title Stroke". This time period involves the movies Chambers can actually recall watching (at a theater or drive-in) with his parents, and friends - and alone.

Chambers is an "only child", so most to all of his time was their (parents') time, particularly his mother's, and when they went to the movies, he tagged along - no babysitter. Consequently, many of the movies that he recalls are of the mature version. Historically speaking, many people of his age probably "traveled" a similar course with their movie viewing. So, "At the Movies: 1952-1969" is not only about his past, but possibly yours as well.


WINDMILLS OF A MIND'S EYE ( "Windmills of a Mind's Eye")

Chambers provided photo coverage of the Collection at the American Windmill Museum, Lubbock, Texas for one of the museum's publications, and he was invited to mount a selection of his photographs as a permanent display.

His coverage above of this windmill at the American Windmill Museum ... and numerous others (outdoors and moving/rotating) ... conjures up a "world of kinetic Suprematism" where the geometry of the construction supersedes functionality. Chambers also takes great delight in this project since he grew up with windmills (wind pumps) and particularly the one that his grandfather (Willie [Bill] Meekins) used to pump water for his herd of cattle (seen below [inset: his grandparents in the 1950s]):

Exhibition:

"Windmills of a Mind's Eye", American Windmill Museum, Lubbock, Texas, March 16, 2019 (opening) (on permanent display).

http://windmill.com/our-history/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windpump

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windmill


RETRO PROVIDENCE: 1985-1990 ( "Retro Providence: 1985-1990")

Chambers returned to Providence, Rhode Island in 2016 to exhibit a sampling of his coverage as Mayoral and City Photographer, 1985-1990 ... "Retro Providence: 1985-1990". The coverage over this six-year period is a direct result of a mayor's presence and activity throughout the environs of a city. It is assignment-based via a press secretary's office, City Hall. The project is similar to the "Hot City" exhibit that Chambers compiled when he worked for the City of Providence in 1989. At that time, American Photo magazine listed the exhibition in its "Notable Exhibitions" section in their July 1989 issue.

These photographs/prints and all negatives that Chambers made during his tenure are part of City Archives as the "Tom R. Chambers Collection". Go to the collection to view a portion of the negative files, test prints, and communications. The exhibition at City Archives is seen below:

Exhibition:

"Retro Providence: 1985-1990", Corridor Gallery, City Hall (Sponsored by Providence City Archives), Providence, Rhode Island, October 14 - December 14, 2016.


MOTHER'S 45s ( "Mother's 45s")

Chambers' tribute piece (mixed media/interactive) to his mother (Tommy Jean [Meekins] Chambers [1925-1983]), "Mother's 45s" was selected through national search for exhibition as a part of the "Parents" show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, 1992.

He matched his mother's 45rpm records with the family photographs to create assemblages by using the hole spaces of the records to frame the images. He eventually arrived at a satisfactory combination, incorporating forty-five 45rpm records with images and a portion of each song onto an audio cassette to be used as a part of the exhibition. He faded-in/faded-out the songs and looped them for continuous play and in order with the wall display of the photo/record assemblages. "Ms45s-1" is seen below showing Chambers mother at the age of four (1929).


The photographs of his mother were sequenced according to the chronology of her life, which spanned almost 60 years. When the piece is 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 his mother is seen; the man who came into her life and eventually became her husband and his father is seen; the maturation process of her only child (him) 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. This project (and its success) is the high point of his visual arts career for the simple reason that it involves and perpetuates his mother's existence.

The above installation is at Gallery One, Providence, Rhode Island, April, 1990. Chambers' mother's RCA 45rpm record player is seen as the centerpiece and source for the sound stimulus. The assemblages are seen as a part of the surround or 360-degree approach to encompass the viewer. Chambers is seen standing near his mother's record player in the top-left photo.

News coverage: "Lifebeat - Putting Mama On The Record", Providence Journal Bulletin (April 20, 1990), Providence, Rhode Island: "In a show that opens today at Gallery One, the Texas-born artist bares a more personal, less public side of himself. The result is a moving tribute to his own mother that Chambers hopes will stir memories and emotions in everyone."

News coverage: "8 Days A Week", The Phoenix's New Paper (The Providence Phoenix) (April 19-25, 1990), Providence, Rhode Island: "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."

Exhibition catalogue (ISBN #0-932706-20-7, 1992): Parents, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio: "Like myself, artists Tom Chambers and Carrie Mae Weems can find themselves unexpectedly reliving their childhoods by the chance encounter with a 1930s record hit or the sweet chocolate-like aroma of fresh-brewed coffee." (Ron Geibert, Curator, Wright State University)

Above composite, far-right photo: Chambers is seen (leather jacket) speaking with Gary Metz at the opening of "Mother's 45s", Gallery One (1990). Mr. Metz was the Chair of the Photography Department at the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence). He passed away in 2010.

Comments left in the guest book:

"The Yellow Rose of Texas, you know how the song goes." PS

"No other word means as much as mother." DP

"Great idea and concept. Good luck. I'm sure your mom is proud, especially today." AW

"Wonderful, warm, wistful. You done your mama proud." JA

"This show has a wonderful feeling." JM

"Great idea. Loved 45s and images with each. Keep up good work." RS

"These photos and music bring many memories back to us." CW and HW

"One of the gold dust twins and soon to be RISD grad - thanks for mothers." JG

"Great concept, brings back memories of our parents and I'm sure everyone else's. Mothers are not to be forgotten." DC and BC

"Great show." DV and NZ

"Very excellent." TRD

"Insight and imagery of times past." LN and VN

"I think it's a form of concrete poetry. Are you familiar with it? Great show." IC

"You must have some great memories here - a very interesting idea - we are looking through a time tunnel at the past." TM

"Talk about recording the past - clever idea. It was a pleasure to trace a life of someone I never knew." KB

"Another great show - thanks for sharing - what is next?" MV

"Touching blend of sight and sound - how a song captures a face, place, time, feeling - all those details of personal memory. Thanks for the associations." MS

"As usual, very nice, and this particular show definitely has a special subjective emotion in the love you felt for your mother. Great." RM and LM

"Thanks for sharing your family with us. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip down memory lane." SS

"A real down to Earth (day) show. Great. Congratulations again, and good luck. I'm fortunately old enough to have bought all those records in their original." TB

"Never know what to write - good show - liked it a lot." SL

"Such a wonderful tribute to your mother. Thanks for sharing." PK

"Is there a part two? I was so intrigued that I wanted to know and see even more. Wonderful tribute." DT

"Great show, very inventive." DE

"Brilliant display." KM

"Lots of love displayed here. She'd be proud of you." JF

"What a wonderful work of inspiration." VL

"You are the best." KH

"Tell me why someone elses roses give just one more chance to say - I’ve been there. In deep appreciation." SM


MATTIE OLINE: THOUGHTS OF A GRANDMOTHER ( "Mattie Oline: Thoughts of a Grandmother")

This project is a tribute to Tom R. Chambers' grandmother, Mattie Oline (Battles) Meekins, 1899-1997. She kept a diary from 1948 through part of 1993. Chambers researched her entries over the years, and chose the ones that have significance for him and society. His grandmother rarely missed making a daily entry in her diary during 45-plus years - an astonishing 16,000-plus entries. Chambers was born in July of 1947, so her diaries were ongoing from when he was about six-months old through the age of 45. The entries are practical, heartfelt and country-bred.

In the early 1900s, she moved with her family to Texas in a covered wagon. Later, she got married to Bill (Willie) Meekins, and raised a family of five in Hynds City. This country village is on Farm Road 103 eight miles north of Nocona in Montague County. It was developed in 1925, when oil production began in the area, and it served local oil production workers. There were a church and three businesses there during the "boom". The Meekins (Chambers' grandparents) owned one of the businesses - a store and gasoline station. After Mrs. Meekins' husband passed away in 1964, she moved her home to Nocona, and lived there until she passed away in 1997.

There are three basic reasons for making entries in a diary: the first is to record what has transpired; the second is to make notes on future activities/events; and the third is for the entries to be kept with other diary entries to become a personal history. Chambers considers his grandmother's collection of 46 diaries a personal history including family and friends with occasional comments/reactions to societal events.

Chambers' grandmother's handwriting is used to provide an immediacy - connection - with Mattie Oline. Notes are used to add more information. He hopes that his grandmother would understand why he has chosen to go public with some of her diary entries: to pay tribute to an individual who helped raise him; and to indicate his sense of longing for her presence. As a former educator, he also sees merit in using family diaries as educational tools.

Go to the initial 216 entries selected from over 16, 000 entries.

Chambers' grandmother (Mattie Oline [Battles] Meekins) and her diaries:

This project has a partnership link on the Texas State Historical Association website:

(Digital Publications)

Exhibition:

"Mattie Oline: Thoughts of a Grandmother", Tales 'N' Trails Museum, Nocona, Texas, September 23 - October 27, 2017.

The project and Chambers' grandmother's diaries reside as part of the Tales 'N' Trails Museum Permanent Collection.


THE PEOPLE OF LONGHU TOWN, CHINA ( "The People of Longhu Town, China")

Chambers had the opportunity to collaborate with Zhao Zhenhai, a Chinese documentary photographer, by putting together a two-person show, "Zhao/Chambers Joint Photo Exhibition". Zhao's photos cover the past twenty years throughout China, and Chambers' photos are from 2004 under the namesake of "The People of Longhu Town, China". This was the first time in Henan Province, China for a Chinese and American photographer to come together to offer an East/West perspective on the Chinese People and Culture. A few of Zhao's photographs can be seen by clicking coverage.

Exhibitions:

"Focus On Your World, Zhao/Chambers Joint Photo Exhibition" ("The People of Longhu Town, China") (group show: Zhao Zhenhai, Tom R. Chambers and Zhao's photo students), Yellow River College of Technology, Zhengzhou, China, April, 2005.

"Zhao/Chambers Joint Photo Exhibition" ("The People of Longhu Town, China") (two-person show: Zhao Zhenhai and Tom R. Chambers), Library Gallery, Sheng Da College, Zhengzhou, China, June, 2004 (view installation/opening).


PEOPLE TO PEOPLE ( "People to People")

Chambers had the opportunity to collaborate with Choi Ok-soo, a South Korean documentary photographer, by putting together a two-person show, "People to People" for the Kumho Art Center, Gwangju, South Korea. This was the first time in Gwangju for a Korean and American photographer to come together to offer an East/West perspective on the Korean People and Culture. The project resides as part of the center's Permanent Collection.

Media coverage: "An American Called Tom Has Photo Exhibition In Korea", Kumho Culture Monthly, May, 1997: "Tom R. Chambers' thirty-third exhibition is currently being held at the Kumho Art Center in Gwangju. The title of the show is 'People To People', and it takes a look at the Korean people through documentary portraits. His photographs are combined with those of a Korean photographer, Choi Ok-soo, to offer a Western/Eastern perspective of documentation.

Mr. Chambers said that photographs are made from different viewpoints, and these viewpoints represent the respective photographer's feelings about reality. And he continued by saying that his images project these feelings and make others aware of their own reality. Mr. Chambers spoke slowly and articulately during the interview for this story. He wanted to make sure that he was understood. He said that his way of speaking had become a habit since residing in Korea.

This month is very special for him because of his current exhibition and his recent marriage to a Korean woman. At the age of fifty, he decided to say adieu to single life, and got married to Cho Eun-mi at Hyangkyo in Gwangju. He had a Traditional Korean Wedding Ceremony, and Choi Ok-soo documented the event. Three of those photographs are a part of "People To People".

Mr. Chambers continued to talk about his photographic style by saying that he makes photographs only in black-and-white, because color detracts from subject content. His works in this exhibition focus on harmony between a human being and his/her environment. He documents people just as they are, naturally and truthfully." (Yoon Jeong-mi, Reporter; translation by Kim Hye-Kyung)

Exhibition:

"People to People" (two-person show), Kumho Art Center, Gwangju, South Korea, May, 1997.


THE McEWEN PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIO ( "The McEwen Photographic Studio")

As a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in the Arts, Chambers initiated and implemented this photographic studio for the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe (1993-1995). Its namesake is a tribute to Frank McEwen, the Gallery's first Director, and in recognition of his Workshop School activities for African artists during the 1950s and 1960s.

His (McEwen's) insight to nurture (then) exceptional talent through a rediscovered medium - sculpting in stone - is now reflected through international recognition of this contemporary art form. The introduction of the medium of photography into the Gallery's Art School (sponsored by BAT Ltd.) nurtured - over a three-year period (1993-1995) - the exceptional talent by African artists (school leavers) to grasp the medium and possibly, again, have a significant impact for the visual arts of Zimbabwe at the international level.

The students' photographs were exhibited as "Moments In Time" (1993), "Moments In Time II" (1994) and "Moments In Time III" (1995) at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Chambers received a letter from McEwen stating his appreciation of his namesake being used for the studio. Edward Gibson Lanpher, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe officially opened "Moments In Time" and "Moments In Time II", and David Bellama, Country Director, Zimbabwe, United States Peace Corps officially opened "Moments In Time III". Kodak Zimbabwe was the generous sponsor of the studio providing film, chemicals and paper.

News coverage: "Photography added to curriculum", The Herald, Harare, Zimbabwe, May 17, 1993: "A U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, Mr. Tom R. Chambers, has introduced photography as part of the 1993 curriculum for the BAT (Art) Workshop School. The workshop is an affiliate of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Mr. Chambers said that this is the first time the medium of photography has been introduced into the Workshop School curriculum as a serious tool for self-expression. He said that the fine arts/documentary photography program was named 'The McEwen Photographic Studio' after the first director of the National Gallery and in recognition of his workshop activities for artists during the 1950s and 1960s. Mr. Chambers is currently teaching twelve second-year A-level art students at the workshop."

Newsletter: "Moments In Time", National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe, September 7, 1993: "This photographic exhibition is the first to be held by students of the BAT Workshop School. 'The McEwen Photographic Studio' was recently formed by Mr. Tom R. Chambers, a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, who is at present assisting in the compilation of our Permanent Collection Catalogue. Through generous sponsorship, Mr. Chambers, a professional photographer, was enabled to hold classes in photography at the BAT Workshop premises. Photography is a fine art which, to date has not had much encouragement or promotion in Zimbabwe. We are confident that this fine exhibition will be the beginning of a new era in the field of visual arts. The exhibition is by courtesy of the United States Peace Corps and BAT Zimbabwe."

Art review: "Glimpse of daily realities", The Herald, Harare, Zimbabwe, September 28, 1993: "A photographic exhibition by BAT art students at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. The black-and-white photographic exhibition on the upper deck of the National Gallery offers us a glimpse of the daily realities of city and suburban life. The display was organized and curated by Tom R. Chambers, a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer and multi-media artist who is currently on attachment to the conservation department of the National Gallery. This social documentary exhibition is a result of an eight-month photography course designed by Mr. Chambers for the BAT advanced-level art students. According to Chambers, the medium of photography is an important tool for self-expression and critical social inquiry within the visual arts of Zimbabwe. Unlike many other art forms, the photographs on display reach a wider audience through cognition and familiarity. The works project an academic fine arts dimension, and the social content is nothing short of captivating. Contrasts between extreme poverty and ostentatious wealth are depicted in the pictures with subtle implications. Some architectural shots reveal the struggle between metropolic and nature, while others simply capture the socio-economic pace of Harare. Images of hope and aspiration in the high-density suburbs are juxtaposed with depression and a stoic acceptance of the plights. Technically, the students show a flair for conceptual composition, selection, mood, tonal progression and transcription. Given that photographic literacy, beyond the narrative, still requires greater appreciation in Zimbabwe, this educational display should go a long way in redressing the status of photography as an art form." (Tony Mhonda, Art Critic)

News coverage: "Timeless Moment", "Art and About", Horizon Magazine, Harare, Zimbabwe, September, 1993: "Community photography with a fine arts slant is the subject of an exhibition, 'Moments In Time', at the National Gallery in Harare this month. Ten A-level students of the BAT Workshop School have spent the past eight months working with U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, Tom R. Chambers. Chambers introduced 'The McEwen Photographic Studio' into the workshop program in honor of the late Frank McEwen, first director of the National Gallery and founder of the original workshop school."

Art review: "Artful eyes behind a camera: how BATmen and women see Zimbabwe", The Northern News, Harare, Zimbabwe, December 1993-January 1994: "As exhibitions at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe go, this one was quiet and unassuming, a collection of fifty small black-and-white photographs by senior students in the BAT Art Workshop. But Moments In Time represents respectable breakthroughs on several fronts. The exhibition showcases the products of the first photography course in the BAT curriculum. The McEwen Photographic Studio, named in homage to Frank McEwen, the first director of the National Gallery, offers a rare opportunity for black African art students to explore an expensive, technical medium of artistic expression. And if instructor, Tom R. Chambers, has his way, the new program will become a permanent part of the BAT curriculum. Displayed first at the National Gallery in September, the photos were selected by Chambers, A U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, for their artistic and documentary qualities. Chambers said in an interview that the fact that all of the students are artists gave them an advantage in using the medium creatively, and because of that, they generated wonderful fine arts images based on composition, shape and form. The students were weaker, however, in photojournalism. This was the first time they went out to document Zimbabwean society. There's a timidity there. You have to learn to be aggressive, polite of course, but aggressive in order to capture the good and the bad. The eight-month course started with several weeks of classroom study of camera techniques, composition and the use of light and shadow. Following this introduction, the students then went out as a team to shoot the environs (subjects, objects and situations) all the while becoming conscious of the mind's eye. And later, they began shooting on their own. Chambers launched the course because he thinks that it is an underutilized medium in Zimbabwe's visual arts. He said that he had to start from scratch. With entrees from the wife of the American Ambassador, June Kronholz, he canvassed five Zimbabwe corporations for grants to buy cameras and equipment. He persuaded Kodak Zimbabwe Ltd., the biggest donor to the project, to give film, paper and chemicals. Chambers is trying to find fellowships in the United States for some of the students who want to continue their photographic studies."

News coverage: "Moments In Time", Kodak Region Review (News from around the European, African and Middle Eastern Region), April, 1994: "Kodak (Zimbabwe) Limited were the biggest donors to an exhibition called 'Moments In Time' held in the National Gallery of Zimbabwe late last year. They will be sponsoring the exhibition again this year. The exhibition comprised a collection of fifty black-and-white photographs taken by senior students in the BAT Art Workshop. The exhibition showcases the products of the first photographic course in the BAT curriculum. Instructor, Tom R. Chambers believes that photography is an underutilized medium in Zimbabwe's visual arts, and through his professional and personal network, he hopes to find several American venues for exhibiting 'Moments In Time'."

Art review: "Workshop features art images captured through the camera lens", The Sunday Mail, Harare, Zimbabwe, September 11, 1994: "A child sprawled on a pavement looking haggard with feet resting on a post; the shadow of a man on a scaffold structure; a woman donating coins to beggars under a bridge and other subjects, form part of the images captured through the camera lens being exhibited at the National Gallery. Dubbed 'Moments In Time II', this photographic exhibition marks the second year of 'The McEwen Photographic Studio' at the BAT Art Workshop and features the work of ten second-year art students and a third-year art student who was studio assistant.

According to Tom R. Chambers, a visual artist, documentary photographer and the instructor for the studio, the exhibition stresses camera/darkroom technique and composition (light-play, shadow-play, juxtaposition, perspective, angularity, foreground-background interest, movement and timing). The pictures reveal the wide spectrum of talent that exists in this medium with some really outstanding and imaginative work while the other photographs were average.

I found particularly captivating Charles Kamangawana's human form photographed on a building structure all in shadow to depict an abstract image that is omnipresent. He explores this subject further by capturing just the leg of a man stepping on a scaffolding structure high above the ground. The picture was taken from a top-down perspective to create anxiety and anticipation. Given Sitandi creates an illusion by picturing a straight-forward documentary image through backlighting and shadow-play of human forms taken behind a curtain. Also interesting is his picture of a young girl child taken from above with the child's eyes looking forlornly into the camera while standing on a dusty road with no shoes on. The same feeling of compassion for the underprivileged is brought out by Givemore Huvasa's image of another child lying resignedly on a street pavement with feet resting on a post. Lighting is cleverly used to enhance the power of this picture. Russell Chawatama rotates his camera lens and juxtaposes a curtain versus a window to abstract the image of an otherwise straight-forward picture to evoke different interpretations and feelings from his image. In this exhibition, Chambers said that documentary/fine arts images convey personal experiences of the serious photographer and offer a unique vision of the world through a combination of camera technique and the mind's eye." (Pikirayi Deketeke, Art Critic)


VARIATIONS ON THE DAN MASK ( "Variations on the Dan Mask")

Chambers was invited by the National Gallery of Zimbabwe to exhibit his personal work, "Variations on the Dan Mask" based on a piece (mask, PC-6400-0147, Dan Tribe, Eastern Liberia) from the collection. It was used as the object for the photogram. The non-exposed area generated from this original mask form was manipulated to vary the look. There's a transference from a traditional form to a contemporary one, or in other words, this contemporary treatment remains within the confines of the traditional form (through direct contact), and borders on Abstract Art that reduces natural appearances to simplified forms.

Review: "Interesting Photograms By Chambers On Display", The Sunday Mail Magazine, Harare, Zimbabwe (December 17, 1995): "After missing a couple of Tom R. Chambers' photographic exhibitions, I finally caught up with his work at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe where he is showing some interesting photograms based on a African Traditional mask form from the Dan Tribe in Eastern Liberia. Titled, 'Variations on the Dan Mask', Chambers offers his interpretations of the mask form depicting different shapes and symbols from which the viewer can also give his/her own interpretations. Though based on a Traditional mask, the different images have a much more contemporary appeal with graphical designs that have both humor and symbolic meaning. The artist's approach is said to border on abstract art as it reduces natural appearances to simplified forms. He says the first is the depiction of the essential or generic forms of things by elimination of particular and accidental variations. The other is the working away from the individual and particular with a view to creating an independent construct of shapes which will have aesthetic appeal in its own right. In some instances, the images reflect the moon and darkness while others depict a face hiding behind bars of different shapes." (Pikirayi Deketeke - Art Critic)

A closer view of some of the photograms is seen below:

Comments:

"Great Concept - very modern. Economic, yet powerful. Congratulations, Tom!" (Tony Mhonda, Art Critic)

"Wonderful, engaging work!" (Stephen Williams, Regional Director, National Gallery in Bulawayo)

"The strength and impact of the image comes from 'pushing' the static information. There's a nice sense of play that also respects the formality of the image. Masks transform and transcend the wearer and these photograms alter the mask in the same way. Congratulations, Tom, and good luck!" (Sylvia Bews-Wright)

"What a fabulous idea. I wasn't able to stay on opening night, but have thoroughly enjoyed it today. V6, V7 and V8 are my favorites. Best wishes!" (Lucy Hall, Director, United States Information Service, Harare)

"I could see a very deep and creative work. I realized that foreign people who choose to live on this continent are really searching something higher than ordinary life. Congratulations and success!" (Alexandra Almeida, Global Government of Humanity, Brazil)

"A unique form of art!"

"The Work is beyond humanity!" (Smart)

"Well done Tom. Keep up the beautiful work!" (Molly)

"Tom, congratulations on your very interesting work - good stuff!" (Ean)

"Congratulations, makorokoto, amhlope - our son and all the best for the future!" (The Chakanyuka Family)

"The exhibition has been well done and with respect. Let it be like this!"

"The art is very beautiful and very creative. Keep it up!"

"Your art is quite different, but very beautiful!"


CURATORIAL WORK ( Curatorial Work)

Permanent Collection, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, 1993-1995

As a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in the Arts, Chambers performed extensive curatorial work at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe. The following exhibitions are just a few of the many he put together from the Gallery's Permanent Collection. From left to right: "Abstractionism - Abstract Expressionism" (Contemporary Zimbabwean Art); "The Old Masters" (The paintings span 250 years (mid-16th Century - late 18th Century) of Art History by the Old Masters from Paolo Caliari Veronese's "Astronomer" and "Patriarch" to Thomas Gainsborough's "Portrait of Francis Browne". The sculptures are by Auguste Rodin.); Zimbabwean Traditional Artifacts; Zimbabwean Contemporary Stone Sculpture (These stone sculptures are the early works ... 1950s - 1970s ... by Zimbabwean sculptors as a result of the workshops held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe by Frank McEwen (first director).


SOUTHWEST OF RUSAPE: THE MUCHARAMBEYI CONNECTION ( "Southwest of Rusape: The Mucharambeyi Connection")

While in Zimbabwe, his project, "Southwest of Rusape: The Mucharambeyi Connection" was exhibited as the inaugural exhibition/event for the United States Information Service (USIS) center (1995). The Mucharambeyi family attended, and Johnnie Carson, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, opened the exhibition. The project is part of the USIS Permanent Collection.

Chambers considers this project one of his more meaningful ones since he spent several days with the Mucharambeyi family in a rural setting that had him traveling from village to village for his assimilation into their culture and customs to provide photo documentation.

Exhibitions:

"Southwest of Rusape: The Mucharambeyi Connection" ("SWRMC-1") (group show) "Hyperlink: PhotoForum Worldwide Exhibition", first, on-line/hyperlinked exhibition under the auspices of PhotoForum/Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, U.S.A. (initiator/coordinator), 1997.

"Southwest Of Rusape: The Mucharambeyi Connection" (solo show), Corridor Gallery, United States Information Service (USIS), Harare, Zimbabwe, Africa (Received a United States Government Grant ; officially opened by the U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe; and accepted as a part of the USIS Archives.), 1995.

Pages from the "Agnes Nyanhongo and Colleen Madamombe" Touring Exhibition [December 9, 1995 - March 17, 1996] catalog that incorporate some of Chambers' SoR:TMC images:

The video version below incorporates the background music by Joel Laviolette. Laviolette is a composer, educator, builder and connector based in Austin, Texas. His musical experience spans genres and crosses borders, weaving in elements from electronica to African marimba and mbira traditions. As the Founder and Artistic Director of the Rattletree School of Marimba, he teaches African musical traditions rooted in collaboration, community and intrinsic balance (https://learnmarimba.com).


DESCENDANTS 350 ( "Descendants 350")

Chambers' project, "Descendants 350" was shown throughout Rhode Island, and accepted by the Secretary of State (Rhode Island) as a part of the Rhode Island State Archives Permanent Collection (1990) (The project received a Governor's [Rhode Island] Proclamation.).

This photo album of Descendants of many of the First Settlers of Rhode Island pays tribute to the trials and tribulations that their Ancestors were subjected to during the early to middle 1600s. It offers a unique look and study of the State's early history as it relates to images of Descendants (contemporaries) as icons or symbols to pay tribute to and talk about their Ancestors' (First Settlers') contributions 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: Rhode Island's early history is referenced, and the Ancestors'/First Settlers' contributions in formulating the State's history are genetically perpetuated through today's Descendants of those First Families, our contemporaries and those individuals who are alive and interact with other residents of the State during our present time. This sense of presence or immediacy is the key factor that brings this project to the forefront for consideration and discussion.

The expression and posture of the Descendants within the images are essentially the same throughout the series of photographs to establish a common thread or connection, which indicates a unity of pride for their Ancestry. Even though the photographs 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 based on freedom from religious persecution.

News coverage: "Tom Chambers unique exhibit sponsored by Providence 350. The stern features of Trooper William A. Rathbun, Sr. gaze out at the onlooker from the veranda of the Surf Hotel on Block Island, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the whispers of history. The photograph of the seated Rathbun is one of 40 portraits of Rhode Islanders, all descendants of founding families, by Tom R. Chambers, sponsored by Providence 350, Inc. The exhibit is on display in the Fleet Center, 50 Kennedy Plaza, through next Wednesday. Chambers, official photographer for Mayor Joseph R. Paolino, Jr., said the original idea was his own. "I approached Providence 350, and they liked the idea and gave me a $1300 grant," he said.

Rathbun is a 10th-generation descendant of John Rathbone, one of 16 purchasers of Block Island, who died in 1702. Another portrait shows Auxiliary Bishop Kenneth A. Angell, whose ancestor, Thomas Angell (1618-1694) settled Providence with Roger Williams and served as commissioner, juryman, constable, freeman and town clerk. The bishop is shown relaxed in the Superior Court House. Charles C. Whipple crouches over an ancestral tombstone in Providence's North Burial Ground. He is a 10th-generation descendant of John Whipple, 1617-1685, a purchaser. Harold Champlin shows another side of the founding families - a member of the Narragansett Indian tribe, he stares out from a pier at India Point Park, the waters of the Providence River dark behind him.

Chambers found his subjects through publicity in newspapers, magazines and television. "Several people called in," he said, "then I got a call from Robert Allen Greene. He's a 12th and 13th generation - two different families - descendant of John Coggeshall, 1591-1647, a signer of the Portsmouth Compact. Robert Greene is a genealogist. I would give him certain first family names I had researched out, and he would plug in the descendants."

Chambers said he relied on the 1969 revised edition of the Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island for his data. "I would reach people and explain the project," he said. "I would ask if they were willing to let me take a documentary portrait. Not one person refused me. They have a lot of pride in their ancestry." (Thomas J. Morgan, Staff Writer, Providence Journal-Bulletin, Providence, Rhode Island, 1986)

News coverage: "Descendants 350, an exhibition by fine arts photographer, Tom R. Chambers, 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. Chambers photographed each descendant in settings reflective of their ancestors' respective backgrounds.

So we meet William A. Rathbun, Sr. looking stern-faced on the deck of the Surf Hotel on Block Island. He's a 10th-generation descendant of John Rathbone (b. -, d. 1702), who, along with 15 fellow settlers, made his mark on the Ocean State by purchasing Block Island, according to The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island. George Williams appears in front of the Roger Williams Monument and Burial Site at Prospect Park in Providence. Roger Williams (b. 1599, d. 1683), of course, founded 'Providences of the most Holy and only wise I called Providence.'

Pictured in the Council Chambers at Providence City Hall, Jeanne M. Desrosiers, an 11th-generation descendant, rekindles the spirit of Thomas Olney (b. 1600, d. 1682), a deputy and town councilman whose signature was among those that ratified this state's government. Ninth-generation scion, Charles C. Tillinghast, gazes at the lens from aside the Tillinghast Monument, which stands on Benefit Street in commemoration of Pardon Tillinghast (b. 1622, d. 1718), pastor of the First Baptist Church and overseer of the poor.

'They strike a certain pose, posture or expression to convey a sense of self-worth, pride and an awareness of my presence,' says Chambers of his ancestral subjects. 'Descendants 350, A Photographic Tribute to the First Settlers of Rhode Island,' which was funded by Providence 350, Inc., is hanging in the Roger Williams Park Museum through Feb. 15. The exhibition will be displayed at the University of Rhode Island's Extension Center Gallery from March 2 through 27 and at the Narragansett Pier Free Library from April 5 to May1." (Providence Business News, Providence, Rhode Island, February 2, 1987)

Exhibitions:

"Descendants 350" (solo show), Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. (accepted by the Secretary of State as a part of the Rhode Island State Archives Permanent Collection), 1991.

"Descendants 350" (solo show), The Old Colony House, Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.A. (sponsored by the Secretary of State's Office, Rhode Island), 1988.

"Descendants 350" (solo show), The State House, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. (sponsored by the Secretary of State's Office, Rhode Island; and received a Governor's Proclamation), 1988.

"Descendants 350" (solo show), The Barrington Public Library, Barrington, Rhode Island, U.S.A. (sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution), 1988.

"Descendants 350" (solo show), Faculty Club Gallery, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A., 1987.

"Descendants 350" (solo show), The Warwick Museum of Art, Warwick, Rhode Island, U.S.A., 1987.

"Descendants 350" (solo show), The Narragansett Pier Free Library, Narrangansett, Rhode Island, U.S.A. (sponsored by the Narragansett Historical Society), 1987.

"Descendants 350" (solo show), CCE Gallery, The University of Rhode Island, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A., 1987.

"Descendants 350" (solo show), The Roger Williams Park Museum (Museum of Natural History and Planetarium), Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. (sponsored by the City of Providence), 1987.

"Descendants 350" (solo show), The Fleet Center Gallery/50 Kennedy Plaza, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. (grant - Providence 350, Inc.), 1986.


DYER STREET PORTRAITURE ( "Dyer Street Portraiture")

American Photo magazine listed Chambers' "Dyer Street Portraiture" in the Notable Exhibitions section of its March, 1986 issue ("The black-and-white images record a diversity of common people in an urban habitat with an ambiance of film noir.").

This photo documentary project focuses on the denizens of a military street - Dyer - in El Paso, Texas, 1983. The photo sessions are staged in the sense that the subjects are posed in relation to their surroundings. A 20mm lens (extreme wide angle) is used to "condense" the view, and show the backdrop/background. The subjects' posture and expression come across as natural, but their "look" is manipulated through constant encouragement. They're not smiling, and in Chambers' opinion, a documentary portrait should not include this kind of expression. As soon as a subject smiles for the camera, he or she breaks character. This action dilutes the nature of the image, and it becomes nothing more than a standard studio portrait.

Exhibitions:

"Dyer Street Portraiture" (solo show), PhotoForum On-Line Gallery, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, U.S.A., 1997.

"Dyer Street Portraiture", "Photo 1991" (group show), Lincoln [Flanagan] Campus Art Gallery, Community College of Rhode Island, Lincoln, Rhode Island, U.S.A., 1991.

"Dyer Street Portraiture", "Photo Show 1988" (group show), Corridor Gallery, Department of Transportation, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. (sponsored by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts), 1988.

"Dyer Street Portraiture" (solo show), The Silver Bullet Gallery, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. (listed in the Notable Exhibitions section of American Photo magazine, March, 1986), 1986.

"Dyer Street Portraiture", "Photo 1985" (group show), The Gallery of Fine Arts (Southeast Museum of Photography) , Daytona State College (Daytona Beach Community College), Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.A., 1985.

"Dyer Street Portraiture" (solo show), Southern Light Gallery, Amarillo College, Amarillo, Texas, U.S.A., 1985.

Comments/Reviews:

"The black-and-white images record a diversity of common people in an urban habitat with an ambiance of film noir." (Notable Exhibitions section, American Photo magazine, March, 1986)

"Your images are strong, direct and honest." (Arthur Goldsmith, Editorial Director, Popular Photography magazine) (1984)

"The images are well seen, and the concept seems to be viable. The series is a clean, well-photographed group of pictures." (Beaumont Newhall, Photographic Historian, The University of New Mexico) (1984)

"I hope a wider public will have an opportunity to see the pictures." (Peter Bunnell, Photographic Historian, Princeton University) (1984)

"It was very good to see the images, and I found them quite strong, both formally and emotionally." (Keith Davis, Curator, Photographic Collections, Hallmark Cards Incorporated) (1984)

"You have some very good pictures. I wish you lots of luck." (Mary Ellen Mark, Documentary Photographer) (1984)

"I always appreciate another person's very sincere efforts at his craft." (Judy Dater, Fine Arts Photographer) (1984)

"I was pleasantly surprised to look at your work. I believe it's the strongest I've seen." (Robert Hirsch, Director, Southern Light Gallery, Amarillo College) (1984)

A response Chambers received from a reader: "Just completed the Photo-Seminars series concluding with your piece on Documentary Portraiture. The subject content on the human condition presentation by your 'Dyer Street Portraiture' series was somewhat disconcerting; these photos were definitely not the cotton candy glamor queen shots. Assessing the concept of creating a studio portrait vs an ageless portrait is evaluating the selection of the appropriateness of one of the facets of the gesture of a smile vs non-smile gesture leans more depth and ambiance to the portrait. The overall impression of your portrait lesson left the impact of a haunting punch.

I Believe my preference is your masterfully delivered jab of enlightenment. Perhaps with a slight upper cut (a short swing blow from beneath to the opponents chin) - your portraiture article helped me to condense and to fine tune my portrait style into - in your face - defined more precisely as close up and personal, simplify, crop out the surrounding unnecessary clutter and to utilize the look and non-smile gestures to the advantage of the moment while seeking the authenticity of the moment being photographed. At the moment your e-mail was being generated, I was reflecting upon the following quotation: The so-called past is the top of the heart; the present is the top of the fist; and the future is the back of the brain. Zen saying."


NOCONA - THE EARLY YEARS ( "Nocona - The Early Years")

Chambers put this project together based on the selection of photographs provided by the citizens and now residing in the Permanent Collection of the Tales 'N' Trails Museum, Nocona, Texas. It shows the early years of the community and surrounding areas. It puts a "face" and sometimes names to activities over a 100 years ago that were a formative influence. The text is extracted from TSHA (Texas State Historical Association) and other sources to provide as accurate a narrative as possible to reflect the mores and living conditions of the time.

The photographs are courtesy of: Bill Billings, Bill Crowe, Louie Labeau, Nell Ann McBroom, Doris Reed, Glenn and Marie Stouder, James Wallace, Clarice Whiteside, Rosemary Wingate, and Eddie Yetter. The originals were scanned by Mike Storey. The restorations, poster layouts, and research (text) are by Tom R. Chambers. The research was edited and approved by Nell Ann McBroom (Director/Curator, Tales 'N' Trails Museum) and Max Brown (Historian).

Nocona (Texas) is Tom R. Chambers' hometown.

Exhibition:

"Nocona - The Early Years", Tales 'N' Trails Museum, Nocona, Texas, November 4 - December 31, 2017.

The project resides as part of the Tales 'N' Trails Museum Permanent Collection.


BUDDHA EARTH ( "Buddha Earth")

Chambers exhibited with The Common Ground Partnership by contributing his composite piece, "Buddha Earth".

This partnership brings together art, technology and philanthropy to focus attention on - and raise money for - environmental projects worldwide. An online community of artists, designers, galleries, curators, art patrons, art institutions, art consumers and concerned corporate citizens. International touring exhibition and media events highlighting digital art in limited edition reproductions and commemorative books, all focused on the theme of environmental stewardship.

Photo of Earth courtesy of NASA: AS17-148-22727 (December 7, 1972) This view of Earth ("The Blue Marble") was seen by the Apollo 17 crew as they traveled toward the Moon on their NASA lunar landing mission. The Apollo 17 crew consisted of astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, mission commander; Ronald E. Evans, command module pilot; and Harrison H. Schmitt, lunar module pilot. While astronauts Cernan and Schmitt descended in the Lunar Module (LM) to explore the moon, astronaut Evans remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) in lunar orbit (NASA).

Exhibitions:

"Buddha Earth" (group show), "Common Ground" ("Digital Art For A Healthy Planet"), A&I Gallery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., July 8 - August 13, 2010.

"Buddha Earth" (group show), "Common Ground" ("Digital Art For A Healthy Planet"), Huan Tie Art Museum, Beijing, China, November 9 - 19, 2008 (Limited Edition Commemorative Book; all the book proceeds donated to these environmental non-profit organizations: The World Wildlife Fund, Global Giving, and the Global Environmental Institute.).


JUST WORDS ( "Just Words")

Chambers' project pays tribute to the Native Americans (American Indians). The namesake, "Just Words", is a play on the "White man's" broken promises, and the words seen as a part of the art reflect Chambers' emotional states or reactions to the mistreatment and near annihilation of the indigenous population by his ancestors. He hopes to begin to find closure for his haunted existence with this attempt as a political statement through the Arts.

The images of the Native Americans are from the Edward Curtis Collection/Library of Congress. Of his own photographs Curtis said, "Rather than being designed for mere embellishment, they are illustrations of the Indian character or of some vital phase of existence." Chambers hopes that Curtis also had similar emotional states as he got caught up in The North American Indian Project to depict "all features of Indian life and environment - the young and the old, with their habitations, industries, ceremonies, games, and everyday customs."

Chambers considers "The North American Indian Project" heavy irony - the last nails driven into the coffin of a culture that was pushed aside and in some cases done away with. In his opinion, it was an attempt by the "White man" - involving prominent figures at the time such as J. Pierpont Morgan (Curtis's financier), Frederick Webb Hodge (one of the period's leading authorities on Native Americans), and even President Theodore Roosevelt (wrote a foreword in which he praised Curtis' powers of observation) - to gloss over the demise of the great overlords of the North American continent, and showcase the remnants of a broken society.


AHMEDABAD, INDIA (2006) ( Ahmedabad, India (2006))

Tom R. Chambers spent three weeks in Ahmedabad, India teaching a Digital/New Media Arts workshop for graduate students at the National Institute of Design (2006). He also documented the streets in and around the city with the help of some of his students. They were instrumental in "opening doors" via introductions and translations so Chambers could make the photographs.

Ahmedabad is the largest city and former capital of the Indian state of Gujarat. The area around Ahmedabad has been inhabited since the 11th century, when it was known as Ashaval. Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1411 A.D. laid the foundation of a new walled city near Karnavati and named it Ahmedabad after the four saints in the area by the name Ahmed. Incorporated into the Bombay Presidency during British rule, Ahmedabad became one of the most important cities in the Gujarat region. In 1864, a railway link between Ahmedabad and Mumbai (then Bombay) was established.The Indian independence movement developed roots in the city when Mahatma Gandhi established two ashrams – the Kochrab Ashram near Paldi in 1915 and the Satyagraha Ashram (now Sabarmati Ashram) on the banks of the Sabarmati in 1917. In 1930, Gandhi initiated the Salt Satyagraha from Ahmedabad by embarking from his ashram on the Dandi Salt March. Following independence and the partition of India in 1947, the city was scarred by the intense communal violence that broke out between Hindus and Muslims in 1947, Ahmedabad was the focus for settlement by Hindu migrants from Pakistan. (Wp)


BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (2006) ( Budapest, Hungary (2006))

Chambers spent two weeks in Budapest, Hungary (2006) visiting fellow artist, Istvan Horkay. He also documented the streets in and around the city. He was taken aback by the amount of graffiti and tagging on public/historical buildings.

Budapest is the capital and the most populous city of Hungary. The history of Budapest began when an early Celtic settlement transformed into a Roman town of Aquincum, the capital of Lower Pannonia. The Hungarians arrived in the territory in the late 9th century. The area was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241. Buda, the settlements on the west bank of the river, became one of the centers of Renaissance humanist culture by the 15th century. The Battle of Mohács in 1526 was followed by nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule. After the reconquest of Buda in 1686, the region entered a new age of prosperity. Pest-Buda became a global city with the unification of Buda, Óbuda, and Pest on 17 November 1873, with the name 'Budapest' given to the new capital. Budapest also became the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a great power that dissolved in 1918, following World War I. The city was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Battle of Budapest in 1945, and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. (Wp)

Chambers (left) is seen below talking with Horkay at his home in Révfülöp, which is near Budapest. (Photos by Cho Eunmi.)


UNITED STATES PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER ( United States Peace Corps Volunteer)

Zimbabwe, Africa (1993-1995)

Chambers joined the United States Peace Corps as a Volunteer in the Arts in September of 1992. The three years that followed were the most fulfilling in his career. He was satisfied with the freedom he had to project his individual characteristics and talents. As long as he didn't 'step on any toes', he was able to use his full ability, and generate as much activity as possible. He did that as a part of his Primary Assignment and two Secondary Projects. His projects are now in the Archives at the Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Peace Corps Description of Service:

Tom R. Chambers began Peace Corps Training on October 19, 1992 at the Peace Corps Training Center in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, and completed an intensive six-week program. The training included Cross Cultural Studies, Shona Language and Personal Health. Mr. Chambers continued two more weeks of personal training/familiarization on-site at cultural institutions throughout Zimbabwe, and he began his Primary Assignment on December 15, 1992.

Mr. Chambers was enrolled as a Peace Corps Volunteer on December 6, 1992. Assigned to the Ministry of Recreation, Sports and Culture, he was posted as a Curator at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe to produce a Permanent Collection Catalogue. His responsibilities included research/classification; computerization (he wrote a grant proposal to computerize the Permanent Collection information for which he received US$9000.00 from the Social Science Research Council/African Archives and Museums Project, New York City); in-house layout/design of the Catalogue (via Aldus Pagemaker); and computerization/curatorial training of National Gallery staff with regard to the Permanent Collection.

He also prepared/curated numerous exhibitions from the Permanent Collection for public cultural enhancement and education; researched/re-configured the Traditional African Permanent Display Gallery; and generated National Gallery involvement with ICOM/AFRICOM to standardize the computerization of the Permanent Collection information to conform with computerized collections information throughout Africa for cultural exchange and protection of African Heritage.

As a visual artist, Mr. Chambers was invited by the National Gallery to exhibit a series of conceptual photographic images, Variations on the Dan Mask, to offer his interpretation of the Traditional African mask form; and the exhibition was officially opened in December 1995 by the United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe.

Note: Mr. Chambers extended his Service for a third year to complete the Permanent Collection project to produce the catalogue. He is seen below during one of his many treks into the rural areas of Zimbabwe to meet the people and make photographs. He is captured here loading film into one of his Nikon FE2 cameras (photograph by AR).

As a Secondary Project, Mr. Chambers initiated and then served as the Instructor for The McEwen Photographic Studio. The namesake was selected as a tribute to Frank McEwen, the first Director of the National Gallery (1957-1973), and in recognition of his Workshop School activities for African artists during the 1950s and 1960s. The McEwen Photographic Studio has now become an integral part of the National Gallery Art School curriculum, and provides African art students an opportunity to experience the medium of photography as another tool for self-expression and vocational potential.

Mr. Chambers taught this seven-month photographic workshop each year (1993, 1994 and 1995) of his Peace Corps Service, and the process culminated in an annual exhibition at the National Gallery, respectively: Moments In Time (1993); Moments In Time II (1994); and Moments In Time III (1995). The United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe officially opened the first two exhibitions; the Country Director of Peace Corps Zimbabwe officially opened the last one; and the United States Peace Corps was a partial sponsor of all three openings. Mr. Chambers also succeeded in obtaining funding to support the photographic workshop process including Kodak Zimbabwe Ltd. (materials grants totaling US$3000.00), Caltex Oil Zimbabwe Ltd. (US$1000.00), Johnson and Johnson Zimbabwe Ltd. (US$400.00), Randalls Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd. (US$150.00), Meikles Consolidated Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd. (US$250.00), BAT Zimbabwe Ltd. (US$200.00) and Crown Cork Company Ltd. (US$60.00) - total: US$5060.00.

As a Tertiary Project, Mr. Chambers initiated, and advised SKIA (Street Kids In Action), a youth development program for at-risk youth in the urban areas (particularly, Harare) of Zimbabwe. He succeeded in bringing together, and motivating numerous individuals from the Zimbabwean community to move SKIA forward, at grass-roots level, as a Zimbabwean-based program to address the Street Kids issue in an all-encompassing manner.

Specifically, a small university approach is planned, in which street children and young adults can benefit from basic education classes, arts/vocational workshops, counseling, athletics and maintenance (Half-Way House approach for the truly destitute); the children are re-integrated in the Public Education system, reunited with the family unit, and placed with corporations/organizations as trainees/assistants/interns to offer them co-operative opportunities. The program has created a greater awareness of the Street Kids issue, and raised local funds (US$35000.00 - Charity Casinos, Mayoral Fund, Rotaract Clubs, corporations, fundraising events, individuals and memberships) to purchase a facility to implement its small university approach, and hire a Zimbabwean Project Manager.

Mr. Chambers attended the United States Peace Corps Africa region Small Business Development and Youth Development Conference in Gaborone, Botswana (September 19-23, 1994) in connection with this program. In this same Advisor/Counselor role, he also provided guidance and assistance to a number of individuals and organizations seeking help and practical guidance in urban youth programs as far away as Kenya (where he made presentations to PCVs), Botswana and Ghana.

Mr. Chambers also served as a Project Adviser for American students who traveled to Zimbabwe on Study-Abroad programs through Scripps-Pitzer/University of Zimbabwe and School for International Training (He advised seven students in various cross-cultural projects.).

In addition, as a Documentary Photographer, he generated a series of photographs (portraits/landscapes of Africans and their lifestyles in a rural area of Zimbabwe, Southwest of Rusape: The Mucharambeyi Connection), and received a US Government grant (US$400.00) through the United States Information Service (USIS) to exhibit this series at the USIS Library in Harare, Zimbabwe (June, 1995). The U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe officially opened this exhibition.


UNCLE BUD: A GLITCH TRIBUTE ( "Uncle Bud: A Glitch Tribute")

This project is a tribute to Chambers' uncle, Carol Don "Bud" Meekins (1935-2015). Chambers' posted the following on Facebook when he was notified in June of 2015 that his uncle didn't have long to live.

"I am heading to my hometown (Nocona, Texas) tomorrow to see, and be with my uncle, Bud Meekins. He is seriously ill in the hospital, and I have been told that he does not have much longer to live. He is almost 80 years old. Bud is one of the last surviving members of the family on my mother's side. One of his sisters is still living as well. I believe she is 82 or 83 years old.

My heart is heavy. Bud was twelve years old when I was born. We grew up together - off and on - as my mother visited her parents, and I stayed with my grandparents during the summer over the years. I used to go out with him and my grandfather to the pasture to feed and work the cows. He was always there for his mother, and helped his parents more than you can imagine. Bud is a true example of the Pioneer spirit of family morals and values.

When I was in the third grade in Decatur, Texas he lived with me and my parents for awhile as he attended community college. I remember watching him play basketball for the college. He was very good. He wore the number 33, and when I played basketball in junior high, I wore the same number - proud to represent my uncle on the court this way.

In the late 1950s, my father went to Alaska to work on a contract job. A few weeks later, Bud helped my mother drive our car from Texas to the territory (not a state at the time) to join my father. He stayed with us for awhile to enjoy the sights.

As both of us grew older, we didn't see much of each other, particularly after my mother's death in 1983. This was a devastating year for both of us. He lost his sister (first sibling death), and I lost my mother. I remember both of us being so distraught, that we had difficulty in communicating. Not long after that tragic day, I moved totally out of the situation, and relocated to the East Coast. My grandmother (my mother's mother) was just as distraught, and she couldn't understand why I wanted to move so far away.

I moved even farther away in the 1990s when I joined the Peace Corps, and then went to Zimbabwe, Africa and later to South Korea and even later to China. I returned to the States in 2007, and Bud was there for me, even though it had been close to 20 years since we had last seen each other. He with one of his sons helped me acclimate as I prepared to live and work in America again. Since I had been overseas for a long period of time, my driver's license had expired, so Bud drove me to a neighboring town to take the written and driving tests. I remember using his oversized pickup truck for the driving portion of the test - I passed.

I relocated to Houston in 2007 and since that time, I have visited Bud a few times, and talked with him over the phone, particularly when two of his sisters became ill, and passed away. On some of my visits back to my hometown to see Bud, I made photographs, and the photo that you see as a part of this post is my favorite of Bud. It shows him walking through the pasture of his land - his father's land - towards the windmill and tank (water) that he and his father installed many years ago to nurture the cows. I cherish the memories that I have with him and his involvement with my mother and father. He is one of my last connections to immediate family."

School photograph of Bud Meekins used for the project:

A "glitch" is a disruption in a system. Also, Glitch Art ... the aestheticization of digital or analog errors ... is a current, viable art form that includes workshops, lectures, performances, installations and screenings worldwide.


OLDER DIGITAL/NEW MEDIA ART PROJECTS


METROPOLIS
( "Metropolis")

Some of Chambers' first digital art pieces (1998-1999) work with symmetry and pattern as an art form. Pattern relies upon three characteristics: a unit, repetition, and a system of organization. Symmetry is a fundamental organizing principle in nature and in culture. The analysis of symmetry allows for understanding the organization of a pattern, and provides a means for determining both in-variance and change. (Wp) ("Metropolis" was exhibited online at PhotoForum Gallery, The Art Bin Gallery, Digital Art Museum.)


GEO ( "Geo")

Chambers utilizes a series of applets to dramatize the change/flux of "Mother Earth" to create Abstract representations of "Her" geography and climate. The original image is transformed - over and over - via the applets to reflect kinetics in Nature. (Note: these applets may or may not work on your computer today.)

Geo (along with Blades and Mutation) was exhibited as a part of the IDAA 2001 online exhibition and at the Noosa Regional Gallery, Australia.

"Nice application of my applets. I majored at the Institute of the Arts here in Lucca, Italy. After all, the Anfy applets are meant to be art, mostly. Thanks for the credit." (Fabio Ciucci)


TOE TOTEM ( "Toe Totem")

Chambers project involves scanner art. It is a play on the word, toe (part of the anatomy scanned), and a study of the totem as a tribute to the Native peoples who made/make totems as symbols that each Native family, or clan, adopts.

Exhibition:

"Toe Totem", "Glass Membrane: Scanner to Screen" (group show), Digital Studio, UCR/California Museum of Photography, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A., March 23, 2002 - May 12, 2002.


SOFT PORTRAITS ( "Soft Portraits")

This project takes a look at self-portraiture as an incorporation of various graphics software programs to affirm e-technology's overriding presence in today's society. And in a mixed-media sense, Chambers contrasts photographic image(s) with the text and design of the software to make the point that the product (image[s]) and the tool (software) are one and the same - coexistent as a part of the creative process.


360 ET AL ( "360 et al")

Early Kinetic Art (Abstract Expressionism) is non-mechanical (Calder's mobiles) or mechanical (Gabo, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and Jean Tinguely), and Chambers turns his attention towards the digital/electronic (e) version in these examples. Go to this link to view the kinetics.

Exhibition:

"New Directions (360 et al)", VzualNet Gallery (online) (based in Australia), 2002.

Comment by Jeff Chand, CEO/Curator, VzualNet Gallery:

"Thank you very much for exhibiting at VzualNet Gallery. During the duration of the exhibition, "New Directions" brought a lot of attention from artists around the world. It was commented by artists that your show was one of the most interesting and informative exhibitions of digital art. German artists having seen your exhibition, were inspired to exhibit next year at VzualNet gallery. The Kinetic Art ("360 et al") site was most exciting, which enabled a large variety of people to view and create their own version of narrative."


PUBLIC DOMAIN RECONSTRUCTION ( "Public Domain Reconstruction")

Chambers continues with Kinetic Art such as "Red Lines", "Dot to Dot" and others. There are an infinite - it seems - number of animated images (.gif files) in the public domain on the Internet, and Chambers reconstructs the purpose of the single .gif file through background image utilization. This reconstruction produces a background of Kinetic (e) Art.

Exhibition:

"Red Lines", Dart Gallery, Information Visualization Symposium (IV2004), University of London, London, England, July 14-16, 2004.

Note: Part of the Rhizome ArtBase. Founded in 1999, the Rhizome ArtBase is an online archive of new media art containing some 1600 art works, and growing. The ArtBase encompasses a vast range of projects by artists all over the world that employ materials including software, code, websites, moving image, games and browsers to aesthetic and critical ends.


STREAK 16 ( "Streak 16")

Chambers appropriates his "360 et al" piece through multiple framing (Web mechanics) to produce "Streak 16". He considers this project Connective Art in the sense that the viewer can manipulate the overall image by utilizing the vertical and horizontal scroll bars of each frame to create his/her version. When "Streak 16" is manipulated, its repetitive nature seems to be broken, but only in the sense of and due to change in position/placement - creating hybrids of Kinetic Art.

Exhibition:

"Streak 16", Dart Gallery, Information Visualization Symposium (group show), University of London, London, England, July 16-18, 2003.

Note: Part of the Rhizome ArtBase. Founded in 1999, the Rhizome ArtBase is an online archive of new media art containing some 1600 art works, and growing. The ArtBase encompasses a vast range of projects by artists all over the world that employ materials including software, code, websites, moving image, games and browsers to aesthetic and critical ends.


SWR: TMC REVISITED ( "SWR: TMC Revisited")

Chambers revisits his photodocumentary project, "Southwest of Rusape: The Mucharambeyi Connection" through appropriation of four of its images by utilizing frames/marquee (Web mechanics) and 3D software (kinetic) to move the original (conventional/static) project to another level via digital (e) treatment. The inclusion - in a new media way - of African ornaments/symbols breaks the original 2D plane for an unexpected look/view, and adds an additional cultural element.

































Note: Part of the Rhizome ArtBase. Founded in 1999, the Rhizome ArtBase is an online archive of new media art containing some 1600 art works, and growing. The ArtBase encompasses a vast range of projects by artists all over the world that employ materials including software, code, websites, moving image, games and browsers to aesthetic and critical ends.


JUST IN TIME ( "Just In Time")

Chambers' Flash movie focuses on the element of time - a continuum of experience - as it relates to a period of time from 1949 to 1977 in China and portrayed on the cover of the American publication, Time. Again, the element of time (and its influence on Kinetic Art [sound]) supersedes the historical/political connotations that might arise through such interpretations, good or bad. The magazine issues are in the years, 1949, 1967 and 1977; and the song is sung by Maysa. Go to this link to view the movie.

Note: Part of the Rhizome ArtBase. Founded in 1999, the Rhizome ArtBase is an online archive of new media art containing some 1600 art works, and growing. The ArtBase encompasses a vast range of projects by artists all over the world that employ materials including software, code, websites, moving image, games and browsers to aesthetic and critical ends.


KITES FOR GANDHI ( "Kites For Gandhi")

Chambers put together this Flash movie when he was conducting a new media art workshop at the National Institute of Design in India (July, 2006). Kites are significant in India to rejoice in the spirit of the day and as a part of the Makar Sankranti Festival (change of season), and Mahatma Gandhi spent a portion of his life at an ashram (hermitage) near Ahmedabad. Chambers created this movie as an offering and out of respect for this philosopher and leader of the people. It was exhibited as a part of NMA@NID held at the National Institute of Design, July, 2006.


DYER STREET PORTRAITURE TO PIXELSCAPES ( "Dyer Street Portraiture to Pixelscapes")

Chambers was invited by the Fine Arts Department, New Media, Beijing Film Academy (BFA) (Beijing, China) (April 8, 2005) to give a retrospective lecture, "Dyer Street Portraiture to Pixelscapes", to students and faculty. This twenty-five year retrospective took a look at Chambers' evolution from conventional documentary photography to his current work with digital and new media art (Photos by Cho Eunmi.).


BUDDHA'S STONES: A STACKING COMPARISON ( "Buddha's Stones: A Stacking Comparison")

When Chambers was living in South Korea, he traveled to the Buddhist temples on numerous occasions, and became interested in Buddhist philosophy (quotes follow). He also noticed a unique practice of stacking stones as a form of worship and asking for good fortune. He decided to document this behavior, and compare these stone formations as a study in technique, and to pay tribute to those Korean people involved with this form of religion. Go to this link to view and compare the stone formations.

"As material civilization develops, cultivate spiritual civilization accordingly."

"All are incarnations of truth-Buddha, do each thing as an offering of worship to the Buddha."

"Practice meditation continually, practice meditation everywhere."

"Keep such oneness in motion and in quietness, maintain the full oneness of the spirit and the body."

"Buddhist truth is found in life, life is Buddhist truth itself."

(The Scripture of Won Buddhism, Pal Khn Chon, The Commemorating Commission for Sacred Achievements of the Great Master of Won Buddhism, Won Kwang Publishing Co., Iri, The Republic of Korea, 1988)

The above statements are the foundation for Buddhism, and multitudes of people flock to the temples in South Korea to worship and practice such; and some stack stones. This stacking of stones is a recent practice, and is probably due to monks stacking stones, as well, in the past. This practice is probably a form of worshipping, but it's mainly a gesture of asking or wishing for good fortune to be bestowed on the stacker and his/her family. Each stone within the stack represents a particular wish and possibly, family member.


TRAVELOGUE ( Travelogue)

Chambers traveled extensively throughout central China via his student connections. He taught English/Media and Communications, and advised the Photography Club at Sheng Da College, Zhengzhou, 2003-2005. This student connection allowed him to experience the Chinese culture in a very personal way by staying with the students’ families and exploring areas that the typical tourist would not be privy to.


TEACHER, TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS (STEM/STEAM, DIGITAL/NEW MEDIA ART, WEB DESIGN, AUDIO/VIDEO PRODUCTION, BROADCASTING, PHOTOGRAPHY) (Teacher)

Chambers taught Technology Applications for Raul Yzaguirre School For Success (RYSS) (charter) in Houston, Texas (2007-2013). He also taught and advised Digital Photography, Digital/New Media Art, Audio/Video Production, and Broadcasting. His students' projects and accomplishments over this six-year period can be viewed/read at this link.

He is a firm believer in knowledge visualization as it relates to the Arts and core subjects (STEM/STEAM). He states:

"In order to generate interest and defuse perceived difficulty in an assignment, knowledge visualization can be pursued to motivate, engage, and empower the student for maximization of cognitive learning in the classroom. The utilization of computer graphic arts software to generate digital art - a tangible product (byproduct) of the creative process - supports the cognitive aspects of the information searched/researched and its understanding. The creation of art - the making of something that comes from 'within' - has always been a boon for the psyche, a gratifying experience that adds to self-esteem, and provides relevance. This creative experience is surround and exciting, which leads to greater motivation for a maximized understanding and retention of content. There is a phrase for this action - moving STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) towards STEAM (STEM with an Arts component). To combine the Arts with STEM is to Motivate, Engage, and Empower (MEE).

A case in point was the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission that his students studied: a Solar Terrestrial Probes mission comprising four identically instrumented spacecraft that use Earth’s magnetosphere as a laboratory to study the microphysics of three fundamental plasma processes: magnetic reconnection, energetic particle acceleration, and turbulence.The aforementioned processes are not only a 'mouthful', but also an immediate put-off for today’s youth (student) mainly because they (processes) are perceived as difficult and boring. Difficulty calls forth boredom for the student's mind - any mind, perhaps - and consequently, there is no appreciable interest. Knowledge visualization via computer graphic arts software can begin to offset this difficulty and boredom. The anticipation of generating digital art welcomes the search/research needed to compile, and understand the information. What is normally a chore for the student to endure - conducting research - becomes 'child’s play' as he/she lays the groundwork for visualization of his/her findings.

A student example follows showing the visualization process of various aspects of MMS and Space weather. This image is generated with graphic arts software. The visual results are based on a great deal of cognitive effort via search/research and creative fervor via the tools and filters of the software program.

The above image is by Maria Guzman, eighth grade, RYSS (2011-2012 school year).

Again, the above student and her classmates took the Science research in stride because of the anticipation of making digital art. They utilized various NASA web pages and images to have a better understanding of Space weather and the purpose of the NASA MMS mission.

The topic of Space weather is about as far away from the student’s mind as the Moon or Mars. It registers one or less on the Richter Scale for this youngster who is more interested in social networking on her cellphone than wading through information to gain an understanding of Space weather that comprises a glossary of over 40 terms such as: aurora, chromosphere, coronal mass ejection (CME), electromagnetic spectrum, heliosphere, magnetosphere, prominences, spectrum, solar wind, and others. And when a complex project like the NASA MMS mission is added to the equation (lesson plan), the task for the teacher becomes formidable or even doubtable.

In order to move the student in the direction of real desire and commitment to an assignment such as this, a 'wired' and holistic approach is needed which parallels who she is and what she does as a 'digital native'. The above image reflects an enthusiasm for the assignment - Space weather and the NASA MMS mission - because she was given an opportunity to immerse herself in the 'digital world' with creative control for generating or creating 'product' - digital art. I heard time and time again from her and the other students, 'This is really cool!' What they meant is that the process of dealing with a complex topic in a 'wired' and creative way (visualization) - and their way ('id' control) - was an exciting and satisfying experience. Unbeknownst to them, perhaps, is the fact that they indeed took part in a regimen of study regarding the Sciences.

To add transcendence, and play to their (students') social instincts, it was also understood at the onset of the lesson plan that they would convey their knowledge (gained) and graphic arts software skills (acquired) to students at another school district. They would become tutors/mentors of others. This understanding was also a motivating factor for the students to proceed with the research.

As mentioned, this student and her classmates also traveled to another school district to teach their students how to use the graphic arts software to do the same. Excitation levels were high, and empowerment came to the forefront for all the youngsters involved. The teachers present at the two-day, student workshop seemed secondary. My students were able to convey what they knew to other students, and those students were motivated through the Arts (and peer teaching) to produce 'product' that was a translation of their Space weather and NASA MMS research activities. The images that follow show my students (in the maroon shirts) working with the students at the other school district."


INSTRUCTOR, YOUNGER SUMMER CAMP, "APOLLOPALOOZA" EVENT (APOLLO 11 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, 1969-2019) (Instructor)

Since Chambers had worked as a research analyst at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL), Johnson Spacecraft Center (Houston/Clear Lake, Texas) during Project Apollo (1969-1972), he was invited by the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum (Denver, Colorado) to give a presentation ("Fifty Years Ago at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory" ) about his experiences at the LRL as a part of the museum's "Apollopalooza" event celebrating the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary (1969-2019). He also met with teachers in the museum's education department (July 16, 2019). The photo composite below shows: top - Chambers with Gene Kranz (NASA Chief Mission Flight Director, Gemini and Apollo); bottom left - Chambers meeting with teachers; and bottom right - Chambers making his public presentation.

He also instructed an all-day "Younger Summer Camp" for 8- to 12-year-olds. The camp focused on Space/Apollo activities that utilzed knowledge visualization and "Literacy Through Photography". The youngsters also interacted with Neil Armstrong's famous statement ("That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.") as he stepped onto the Moon's surface. They recorded their voices making this statement, and Chambers superimposed their recordings with that of Armstrong's for greater impact and empowerment.

Neil Armstrong had been on the Moon's surface for about eight minutes, and then he proceeded to make his first photo pan series. The series comprises nine images, and these are the first photographs made by a human being standing on another celestial body ... significant coverage. Chambers had the education department at the museum make prints of the images, and configure them on the walls of the classroom. He then asked the youngsters to use their cameras/phonecameras to make photographs of Armstrong’s images just as he did when standing on the Moon’s surface ... one at a time ... approximating the 360-degree approach. It was conveyed to them the emotions that Armstrong must have had during this process.They took their image files home to share with their parents for greater impact and empowerment. Armstrong's photo pan is seen below.

All of the Younger Summer Camp results can be viewed/read at this link. Chambers also has a page of Mercury/Gemini/Apollo miscellany that can be viewed/read at this link.


CHINA (2003-2007) (China (2003-2007))

Tom R. Chambers spent four years in China (2003-2007) teaching English/Media-Communications and Digital/New Media Art at Sheng Da College (SDC) (Zhengzhou, Henan Province) and Zhaoqing University (ZU) (Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province), respectively. The image examples below show a bit of his coverage throughout this country as a result of his student connections.

A travelogue that Chambers created re: his tenure at Sheng Da College can be accessed at this link, and his teaching activities/student projects at Zhaoqing University can be accessed at this link. He received letters from both administrations for his contributions to the educational process at the institutions: SDC and ZU. Go to "The Great Walk" to view Chambers' experience at Mu Tian Yu near Beijing. Go to The Great Wall to watch an overview of the Mu Tian Yu area. Mouseover the area to reveal player/controls.

The photograph below shows Chambers in the field conversing with locals in a village near Zhaoqing University. The young girl is his translator, Shan Shan (Gina). She also translated for many of his digital/new media art classes at the university. This image is one of his favorites out of many taken of him over this four-year period. (Photo by Cho Eunmi.)


FORGOTTEN AND FOR SALE ( Forgotten and For Sale)

Tom R. Chambers documents old photographs, in situ. They are “forgotten and for sale” in various antique shops in Texas (Hico, Georgetown, Brenham, Sealy). There is a lack of concern that prevails throughout the documentation. Family members (others) seem to have little regard for personal photo collections – visual histories that recall and validate genealogical connections, not to mention record historical moments in time.

Through arrangements and juxtapositions, the project not only calls attention to this neglect, but also recaptures those proud and familiar moments that comprise familial (otherwise) existence. Many of the images show a collective disregard via multiple photographs that make up the compositions.

What is interesting about this project is the fact that the old photographs are shown in their discarded and sell-mode fashion. Most if not all projects about old photographs show those images themselves – out of context.


9/11 MEMORIAL, NYC ( 9/11 Memorial, NYC)

Tom R. Chambers documented the 9/11 Memorial in New York City (NYC) as closure to the guilt he felt when this tragedy happened on September 11, 2001. He was teaching in South Korea, and he felt as if there was nothing he could do since he was so far away from the events in his homeland. A sense of guilt and depression set in, and when he returned to the United States several years later, the memorial "beckoned" him to make amends for his absence from the country. He did so with this project that looks at the memorial fountain in a very "up close and personal" way. The coverage also treats the fountain as Abstract Art. Chambers states, "Let the water fall - let the water flow in memory of those who perished."

The September 11 attacks (also referred to as 9/11) were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. Additional people died of 9/11-related cancer and respiratory diseases in the months and years following the attacks.

Four passenger airliners operated by two major U.S. passenger air carriers (United Airlines and American Airlines) - all of which departed from airports in the northeastern United States bound for San Francisco and Los Angeles - were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan. Within an hour and 42 minutes, both 110-story towers collapsed. Debris and the resulting fires caused a partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the World Trade Center complex, including the 47-story 7 World Trade Center tower, as well as significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon (the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense) in Arlington County, Virginia, which led to a partial collapse of the building's west side. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was initially flown toward Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after its passengers thwarted the hijackers. 9/11 is the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed, respectively. (Wp)

Go to 9/11 to watch an overview video of the memorial. Mouseover the area to reveal player/controls.


Copyright 2019