The life of an artist involves a certain continuous passion. At a very early age, Philippe Chambon developed a passionate interest in artistic expression that overrode all else.
Born in Lyon, France to a young couple that had an appreciation for all things artistic, Chambon was exposed to the work of many of the great artists of Western Europe. Vacations in Italy and Spain allowed him to experience the wide range of subject and object in painting, sculpture and architecture, from primitive cave paintings to modern masterpieces.
His formal artistic training began at the age of 6, when he was singled out for exceptional aptitude. He quickly oriented himself towards the modern styles, which were well-represented in the museums and private collections of his native Lyon.
At 7 years old, the City selected Philippe’s gouache on paper to be shown in a special exhibit of children’s art. His urban landscape depiction of Lyon’s Festival of Lights drew much attention from attendees, and further fueled his passion for colors and modern composition.
As a child, Philippe could always be found in a little corner of his room that he had christened his “artist’s studio”, well-stocked with gouache, watercolors, colored pencils and stacks of paper that he could use to express himself in unexpected ways.
Chambon’s emerging style was greatly influenced by his discovery of modern masters such as Kandinsky, Malevich and Delaunay. Even today, he remains fascinated by the life stories behind these artists and their work.
After arriving in the United States in 1988, Chambon continued to develop his visual language with further inspiration drawn from the works of American artists such as Stanton MacDonald-Wright, Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline. Discovering the Synchromist Movement of the early 1900’s finally brought his style into focus. The American Abstract Expressionists gave Chambon the strength and the vision to forge a unique, distinctive abstract vocabulary and an unmistakable style.
Between 1996 and 1997, Chambon deepened his studies of Abstract Expressionism, refining and broadening his style. It was during this period that Linearism began to dominate his work.
Chambon continued to paint until 2001, when he decided to depart into three-dimensional work. His sculpted and carved ceramic art pieces can be found in collections all over the world, including a series of spectacular red teapots that were purchased by the First Lady of Malaysia for display in the Palace.
This three-dimensional work inspired Chambon to create a new form of expressionism that eventually found its way, once again, into his current series of canvasses. “The Dreams of the White Tiger” capture a vivid perspective and depth that is totally unexpected in abstract painting. His complex use of white to draw the viewer into the imagery is an instantly identifiable characteristic of the series.
Chambon’s latest body of work, "White Reflections", extends the Spatial Linearism theme established by the "Dreams" in a vivid dialog of complex, interwoven imagery that, through interaction with the viewer, becomes more than just paint on canvas. It becomes something else: Colors evoke music, sounds, fleeting physical sensations of heat or cold. The visual impact evolves into a total sensory experience, engaging the attention of all the sensibilities. The energy is continuous and all-embracing, as the eye travels from place to place on the canvas.
Chambon’s distinctive abstract vocabulary creates a highly visual, interactive experience. His painting technique utilizes multiple layers of acrylic paint, allowing the interplay of transparency and opacity to forge a unique and powerful vision. His “action painting” technique allows spontaneous, unplanned movement to create the foundation of each piece. As an Abstract Expressionist, Chambon does not plan or pre-conceive his paintings; rather, each canvas takes on a life of its own under his vigorous strokes.
Each canvas compels the eye to take a journey through intricate landscapes of spectrum and form, dipping in and out of a space at once alien and achingly familiar. Spontaneous lyrical abstractions are often associated with his style; many art collectors respond to the work in its relation to graffiti or urban art.
Like Kandinsky, Chambon strives for an appreciation of the inner resonance and mystery of his work, and hopes he leaves enough unsaid for the imagination to be fully engaged.
“Painting for me begins with the blank canvas, and an open question. Nothing is planned or arranged beforehand; the inspiration must come from within as I remain open to the answers that emerge from the paint itself.
“My ideas, thoughts, and emotions become colors and shapes as I move across the canvas.
”I am forever grateful to the great pioneering creators that have gone before me. Their work freed the artist from the object, opening the door to a daring and exciting world of creative expression."