Department of Art & Art History

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Visual Arts Complex
Visual Arts Complex
photo of Scott
BA San Francisco State University 1973
MFA Alfred University 1976

Scott Chamberlin

Professor + Area Coordinator, Ceramics

Notes on the work: For me the importance of abstraction is in its ability to be evocative in very complicated ways and in very simple, fundamental ways.  I am interested in making artwork that is understood or apprehended through involuntary or unconscious urgings, in ways other than through reason or intellect.  I want the response to be more instinctual, to come through the gut more than through the head.  This does not mean the intellect is not used, it means it is not the starting point.  I am somewhat skeptical of the intellectual response, primarily because it is often manipulated by education and fashion.  I am trying to make work that presents itself before language forms, before it can be given a name.  When one thinks about all of the ways in which communication occurs or experience is acquired, a very small portion occurs through language-based interaction.  In this very complex, information based world, it appears experience or assimilation without language is diminished.  I am trying to point out that theoretical, language based concepts might limit a fuller spectrum of experience.  I am interested in posing the question: does naming something constrict it’s meaning?

Fundamentally, the nature of the work involves ideas and qualities that are not intended to be specific or particular.  I have always been drawn to the spare, basic, and economical.  I want my work to reflect this.  However, the work does make reference to many things specific, including the body.  I am interested only in particular aspects of the body and the way these various aspects might be suggestive.  The work is exploring the curious space that exists between being somewhat creepy and humorous. I am curious about the way gross or repellent things become beauty. For the work to be successful, it should be simultaneously odd and elegant, and have a connection to the erotic, perhaps reflect an unsettling mixture of strangeness and seductiveness.

The experience is never pure or easily understood.  I often wonder whether it is possible to have an irrational and at the same time pleasurable experience with a work of art.

« all faculty

  • european, 2009, terracotta 36 x 42 x 32

  • fertile matters, 2009 terracotta installation

  • heved, terracotta 24 x 20 x 10

  • hopen, 1999 32 x 12 x 10

  • ornate, 2008, terracotta 36 x 22 x 12

  • overheard conversation, 2009, terracotta 10 x 6 x 2

  • pente, 1999, terracotta 27 x 12 x 10

  • terra, 1988, terracotta 5 x 6 x 3

  • tinus1993-6ftx5ftx3ft


    tinus, 1993, terracotta 6 x 5 x 3