Born in a small town in Indiana in 1927, John Chamberlain became one of the most celebrated abstract expressionist sculptors of the 20th century. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he attended the Art Institute of Chicago and later studied at Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina. He led a nomadic lifestyle, residing and working in cities across America from Sarasota to Santa Fe, even spending some time in Belgium.
Chamberlain worked with a vast array of media throughout his career, experimenting with unconventional materials like aluminum foil, cardboard, urethane foam, and his signature substance: recycled automobile parts. There were periods of time when he did not utilize any metals within his work at all, committing to push himself out of the realm of expectation. A common theme throughout Chamberlain’s works is the fascination with “fit” – he believed that as long as scale was proportional, size was irrelevant; he often collected objects that would be compared and then morphed together if the fit was correct.