Short-listed for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2017, final selection for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2016 and regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition – Ian’s exquisite etchings use subjects and locations that were once at the forefront of technology. Now either defucnt or reconfigured for different uses, Ian uses the etching process to make a sustained enquiry into the subject’s structure, location and the effects of time passing. The resultant etchings are powerful and mysterious. His etchings are currently held in collections at the Ashmolean Museum and the V&A
ANISE GALLERY: From where did your interest in architecture and infrastructure originate?
IAN CHAMBERLAIN: I have always enjoyed strong graphic forms and a sense of the monumental within architecture. This probably started with my love of film/cinematography and especially science fiction. Then as my research and experience widened I was introduced to Brutalism, constructivism and modernism.
ANISE GALLERY: You are known for your printmaking in addition to drawing; do the two media inform each other?
IAN CHAMBERLAIN: I begin each project with an intense enquiry through on-site observation and drawing. Through visiting these locations I can develop my own subjective emotional response. This, combined with factual research and first-hand experience create a sense of place.
I begin by finding my way around the subject, evaluating the form through the use of light and dark in quick charcoal studies. These are then taken into the studio where, if required, more sustained studies incorporating finer lines are made. The continuation of the drawing element is an integral part of my process. This can be seen in the evidence of the drawings within the continually-changing hierarchy of the etching development as new elements are brought into focus and others pushed back. The etching reveals evidence of the recording and decision-making taking place. For me, the importance and value of the etching process is integral to both the making and the content of the work. Etching offers a unique means of working—inherent in its makeup is the intervention upon the surface and the sculptural physicality of the process; layering and building-up information through cyclical reapplications of grounds, drawing, etching, burnishing and drypoint.
My aim is to draw the viewer in, highlighting new layers of information and revealing finer levels of detail. For this, a wide range of tones and surface qualities are combined with a strong graphic line quality through etching and related intaglio processes including hard ground, aquatint, sugarlift, spit bite, drypoint and burnishing.
ANISE GALLERY: Your printing and drawing style is highly recognisable; what do you hope to add to existing narratives of your subject matter?
IAN CHAMBERLAIN: I hope to add my own experience of the objects I am recording. Layering pieces of information and detail. There are quite abstract elements within the recognizable form. My work in the future will hopefully have more abstract elements breaking out of the form.
ANISE GALLERY: Which artists, both contemporary and historical, are you most inspired by?
IAN CHAMBERLAIN: In no particular order and at this time , Bernd and Hilla Becher, Michael Sandle, Dryden Goodwin , Piranesi , Morandi, Rembrandt and George Shaw. There are countless others that play a role periodically.
ANIS E GALLERY: Where do your influences lie outside of art?
IAN CHAMBERLAIN: My current major influence and source of my new upcoming project is ;
The Atlantic Wall , a system of coastal fortifications built by Nazi Germany 1942 – 1944 along the coast of Europe.
The choice of the Atlantic wall has now become more relevant due to current debates around the idea of visible and invisible barriers and our impending isolation from the continent. A visual metaphor of the shifting political, social and environmental landscape.
ANISE GALLERY: How would you like to see I) the future of drawing ii) your future practice evolve?
IAN CHAMBERLAIN: In reference to my planned trips to Europe and the Atlantic wall.
I am intrigued how the passing of time will influence what I remember becoming a fine balance between the morel sustained works and the spontaneity and immediacy of the original drawn marks and sketches.
This geographical and emotional distance will hopefully allow more abstract ideas to surface, creating its own autonomy and uniqueness within the drawing.
I want the work to echo subject matter and embrace the idea of the artwork evolving and shifting throughout its creation.