This 3-volume set brings together for the first time the complete film works of Jack Chambers (1931-78), largely regarded as one of Canada’s most important visual artists. With a well-established career as a painter, he embarked on a short-lived but significant career as a filmmaker in the mid-1960s. Chambers’ artistic practice was described as “perceptual realism” and stood in counterpoint to the dominant abstract styles of his day. He completed five films in his lifetime.
“It was in the summer of 1964 that I made my first movie, Mosaic. I shot literally miles of film since I was also learning to use the camera. The film finally ended up nine minutes long...”- Jack Chambers
“The Vietnam War was very upsetting to me: I did not agree with the American presence in Vietnam. I thought that a film showing some of the tragic aspects of the war would serve as a useful tool for fundraising.” - Jack Chambers
Chambers in R-34 impressionistically documents the work of London, ON collage artist Greg Curnoe through rhythmic and softly focused close-ups. Curnoe’s art intertwines with Chambers’ daily routines: collapsing the art practice of Curnoe with the art of everyday life.
“Hart of London is composed largely of newsreels, i.e. photographs which are wedded to a particular place and time. For these reasons, they evoke a sense of loss. These images... are arranged in patterns which consist of the alternation of icons of birth with icons of death: the juxtaposition of footage depicting the birth of a child with footage depicting the slaughter of a lamb is one evident example.” - Bruce Elder
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
Canada / 25:00 / 1965
An unusual version of the classic children's tale. Little Red Riding Hood was performed at the Labatt Marionette Theatre in London, Ontario. The adaptation was written by James Reaney, the puppets were created by Greg Curnoe and the performance was filmed by Jack Chambers. This film was unreleased.
An intimate portrait of Jack Chambers, a major figure in the Canadian cultural landscape, a man who has been called Canada's finest painter. Within a carefully constructed narrative of the artist's life, this visually lyrical film includes the full range of his work from the age of thirteen until his death. The story is told in Chamber's own words and in narration, and these voices are balanced by interviews with several of the people who were close to Chambers at different times in his life.
THE JACK CHAMBERS FILM PROJECT
Canada / 48:00 / 2004
This documentary was produced on the occasion of the Museum of London's Jack Chambers Film Project. It includes excerpts from Chambers' five key films and documentation of panel presentations from Stan Brakhage, Nancy Poole, James Reaney, Ross Woodman, among others given at the 2001 Chambers Symposium.