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Under scrutiny

Lewis Chamberlain – British artist primarily known for his detailed paintings and pencil drawing with mysterious and abandoned atmosphere.

I’ve always been interested in details, in the specific nature and character of things and in what distinguishes them one from another. I used to work exclusively from life, yet recently I’ve turned increasingly towards photography for source material. The physical components of my surroundings – walls, doors, floorboards and window frames – are integral to my subject matter and the claustrophobic nature of my work and I consciously build that sense of claustrophobia by populating the works with objects that relate, however indistinctly, to people. I often use objects relating to childhood to suggest strange self-contained worlds dictated by memory and atmosphere. 

I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember. As a kid I liked finding stuff – insects, animal bones, old pottery – that I’d take then home and draw. I always wanted to know how stuff worked, what was inside of it, and why it was there. And I was fascinated when finding things that shouldn’t be in that landscape, things that stood out, that didn’t really fit. That still echoes in my work – stuff that’s in the wrong place, the wrong environment, or the wrong company. 

Art should always attempt to challenge, to provoke, to ask questions and to offer something new. And it must communicate something that can, however small, change the way the viewer sees the world.

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