Richard N. Chamberlain, Inside Black, 1988, enamel and oil on panel. © Richard Chamberlain.
Don’t miss your last chance to see this very exciting show. The Year of the Sheep closes on July 8th, 2012.
In the late 1980s, Richard Chamberlain began a series of paintings dealing with his experiences in Vietnam. Called The Year of the Sheep, which refers to the Chinese calendar designation for 1967, the year he spent in Southeast Asia, the series is comprised of black-and-white images that are reminiscent of abstracted landscapes. They are markedly different from Chamberlain’s other paintings, which are far more traditional, softly colored interiors, still lifes, and figures. More than 20 years after his tour of duty in the Marines, Chamberlain still found himself haunted by his war experiences and sought counseling to deal with his anger and depression. A therapist suggested he use his skill as an artist to work through these emotions. What began as bands of black and white slowly emerged into these stark visions, where the viewer becomes drawn into the conflict. “The borders of good and evil are not always clear,” says Chamberlain. “I realized we weren’t fighting the enemy. We were fighting nature – the land, the heat, the disease, the monsoons,” he said. “This was the real enemy.” And this meant that we were opposite the side of nature, which is scary, because nature is usually thought of as good.”