John Chamberlain, Wickets, 1996, painted steel, dimension varies

Duncan and John Chamberlain: A Dialogue between Father and Son in Santa Fe

Peters Projects, 1011 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, is pleased to present Saving Grace: Duncan and John Chamberlain. A Dialogue Between Father and Son in Santa Fe, opening on Friday, September 2nd , with a reception from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, September 3rd. The exhibit will run from September 2nd to Nov. 12th, and feature the automotive scrap sculpture, Wickets, of the late John Chamberlain and the abstract aluminum sculptures of his son, Duncan, who both lived for some years in Santa Fe. John Chamberlain’s Wickets will premiere at Peters Projects.

Automotive scrap metal sculptor John Chamberlain (1927-2011) was a legend among legendary abstract expressionists during the 1950’s and 60’s. During the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, his reputation was cemented as a sculptor of radical techniques and ideas that influenced a generation of artists from Donald Judd to Lynda Benglis. He utilized early techniques of collage and assemblage, emphasizing the brilliant, bold colors of automotive paint. He became a habitué of the scrap yard and body shops, “I saw all this material just lying around against buildings, and it was in color,” he said, although for years he found himself having to respond to the occasional dark criticism that the detritus of tragic car wrecks became his found materials. Later on he said, “I think of my art materials not as junk but as garbage. Manure, actually; it goes from being the waste material of one being to the life-source of another.”
He belonged to a group of late American modernist sculptors who put color and form on the same dais. As the noted curator/author Klaus Kertess wrote, “to make roundness into color and color into roundness.”

He spent several formative years in the Santa Fe area with his family and where son Duncan was born. His son, John "Duncan" Chamberlain was born in 1962, to an artistic family. Being the son of world-renowned scrap metal sculptor, John Chamberlain, Duncan's upbringing was inspired by amazing metal sculpture and studio life. Santa Fe, New Mexico was home to Duncan until age 10. The death of his mother, Elaine, moved Duncan and his brothers to NYC, where he lived with and helped his father. In 1980, Duncan moved back home to Santa Fe for 8 years and worked and learned masonry from the Rodriguez Masonry.

Traveling to Sarasota, Florida in 1988 to visit his father, Duncan accepted an assistant position. 

Twenty-five years of working side by side with John Chamberlain, helped influence and move Duncan to create his own inimitable style of sculpture using the familiar medium of aluminum.  As he has said, “I see the characteristics of rawness, elegance, grace and whimsy in my work. Hopefully, it will come across to the viewer as well. I look forward to coming back to my home town of Santa Fe!”

Now, as an established metal sculptor, Duncan has had several major showings of his art in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. 

The Peters Projects exhibition program is titled Outside-In which features the work of artists who are inspired by or create on-site, the land, culture, and indigenous influences of the West.