Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Art Matters Blog

Live: Jack Chambers Media Preview

November 22nd, 2011

Jack Chambers: Light, Spirit, Time, Place and Life opens at the AGO on November 26. The collection surveys the varying styles and media used by the artist to create an incredible range of work. Today members of the press arrive to preview the exhibition – I’ll be following along right here on the ArtMatters blog so you can get a sneak peek of the show too! Remarks start at around 10.15am. – Holly, Internet and Social Media Content Coordinator.


Photo: Quotes about the exhibition from people who have contributed.


Photo: Curators Dennis Reid and Sarah Milroy with the AGO’s Matthew Teitelbaum. Reid is a renowned Canadian Scholar and Milroy is an art critic.


Photo: A section of the exhibition catalogue cover.


Jack Chambers by Michael Ondaatje (from the exhibition catalogue)

10.19 MT is now on stage welcoming the audience – HK

‘It’s the first survey of Jack Chambers’ work since 1988. The project was made possible by Dennis Reid who is known across the country for his commitment to Canadian art, together with esteemed art critic Sarah Milroy.

You’re going to see the complexity of Chambers’ collection. At its heart is the collection of record formed at the AGO.’

10.22 MT is thanking the sponsors and the people who loaned artworks for the exhibition. He’s joking that we won’t be giving them back.

10.23 Dennis Reid ‘Jack’s papers are phenomenal – he was a deeply reflective man, and he kept everything. We didn’t want to think of this as a retrospective but it’s certainly comprehensive. It’s organised according to four big themes in Chambers’ work: Life, spirit, place and time.’

Light: Jack thought of light as that which makes everything actual. He was snapping all the time with his camera.

Place: it’s about geography, ancestry, the past and the future, Jack felt all of this deeply. When he came back to London from Spain he discovered that this was his place and the rest of his life was sent exploring this.

Spirit: Raised baptist and converted to Catholicism, spirituality was a constant. But for me it all came down to family.

Time: You can’t make film without thinking about time.

10.29 ‘Critical to this exhibition is how we displayed the archival material – I’m going to ask Sarah i talk about this.’

10.30 Sarah Milroy is on stage talking about the archives as her ‘happy place.’

‘You can travel inside the mind of an artist. Jack really used the camera as a way of seeing – you’ll be in his mind.’

‘In the archive you’ll see photos if sea and sky and beach, preparation for a series of works of Lake Huron. By looking at these photos you can see how this work really arose out of his family life – kids eating peanut butter sandwiches on the beach.’

‘He also used photography when he was building an image. If you look in the archive you can see his pictures don’t arise from one photograph but a bunch of different photographs – his pictures can be thought of as collages in this way.’

‘We have a suite of source photos from when he was planning to paint The 401 Towards London. You can see he was actually running back and forth across the 401 with his camera – it’s uncanny, you can be with him whilst he’s figuring out his subject.’


Photo: Sarah Milroy talks about the archival element of the show.


Media checking out the show


Jack Chambers: Light, Spirit, Time, Place and Life opens at the AGO on November 26. For more information please visit

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.