- [ca. 1920]-1991, predominant 1961-1978 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
265 cm of textual material
6 film segments
Name of creator
Jack (John Richard) Chambers, artist and experimental filmmaker, was born in London, Ontario in 1931. He studied at the Escuela Central de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid from 1957 to 1959. In Spain he met Olga Sanchez Bustos, whom he married in Canada in 1963. They made their home in London and had two children, John (b. 1964) and Diego (b.1965). Chambers’ style of painting and drawing in the 1960s was characterized by a dreamlike quality. Toward the end of that decade, his work became intensely focused on the depiction of reality, often relating closely to source photographs, most of which were taken by the artist himself. Between 1964 and 1970 Chambers also directed eight films. The subjects of his work were often domestic or regional, focusing on his experience in London. In 1967, Chambers founded Canadian Artists’ Representation to try to establish fee scales for reproduction rights and rental fees for works in public exhibitions, and served as president from 1967 to 1975. In 1969 Chambers published his essay “Perceptual Realism”, and that same year, was diagnosed with leukemia. From 1971 to 1977 he worked on “Red and Green,” a study of art and perception (unpublished). Chambers died in London in 1978. His work is in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and numerous other Canadian galleries.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
The material now comprising the Jack Chambers fonds was transferred to the Art Gallery of Ontario from the artist’s studio in 1994 by his son, John Chambers.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Fonds consists of drawings and sketchbooks, working notes and storyboards for Chambers’ films, aesthetic and philosophical writings, source photographs for artworks, personal photographs and objects, professional correspondence, transcriptions of interviews with the artist, critical reviews, material relating to posthumous exhibitions, financial records, personal correspondence on the artist’s health problems, files relating to Canadian Artists’ Representation, works by other artists, and a collection of books. Fonds consists of the following series: Correspondence Interview transcriptions Publicity material Critical articles Exhibition files Grant applications Canadian Artists’ Representation files Financial records Jack Chambers Memorial Foundation files Signatures of the artist Film projects Writings “Red and Green” manuscript Miscellaneous Personal effects Secondary school records Honours Drawings and sketchbooks Works by other artists Photographs and secondary images Secondary publications
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
No further accruals are expected.
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
To be determined.
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
The manuscript of “Red and Green” is extremely fragile.
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
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Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
Finding aid modified and description prepared by Amy Marshall with assistance from Gary Fitzgibbon, 2002/2009
Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019