Paul E. Chambers
RIP to my dear friend and teacher Paul E. Chambers, without whose vision, creativity, and initiative station923 would not exist. I will miss you sorely. Your work, your ideas, your creativity and brilliance have changed my life forever, and I am grateful to be able to uphold your legacy at station923, the little railroad property you rescued from a derelict state, transforming it into a work of living sculpture.
Read more about the man, the artist, the philosopher, in today’s Ithaca Times, in a beautiful piece written by Danielle Winterton. We are grateful to have it.
Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 2:06 pm, Wed May 30, 2012.
By Danielle Winterton
Artist and Trumansburg resident Paul Chambers passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, May 19 after a five month battle with cancer, and on Thursday, May 31 beginning at 5 p.m., Chambers will be remembered by his friends and family in a memorial service, which is followed by a potluck. The community is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Painter Paul Chambers was born in Lincoln, England and moved to New York after completing his BFA from the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham, England; he then completed an MFA from Cornell and went on to teach at Elmira College as an instructor and then at Cascadilla School as Head of Art. It was in Ithaca and Trumansburg where he would later recycle salvaged materials to restore and transform area properties, and focus on developing an illustrated philosophy and a body of writing dedicated to the idea that religions should be redefined or reimagined as works of art.
“He was a radical and independent spirit whose life added up to a great deal and which in the fullness of time will become more apparent to a much wider circle,” said Richard Riley, Head of Exhibitions in Visual Arts for the British Council and Chambers’ oldest friend.
Chambers’ friends, colleagues, and kindred spirits speak of him with reverence and hold both his art and his place in their lives in cherished esteem. In speaking to them for this article, the words “ruckus,” “rebellious,” and “very difficult,” came up alongside of “deep admiration,” “encouragement,” “guidance,” “passion,” “life-changing,” and “genuine.”
Brian Moran, a student at Cascadilla School, recalled an exercise in a class he took with Chambers. He was about 15 years old, he said, and the assignment was to make drawings of space.
“We weren’t supposed to focus on objects or bodies or any of the fixtures in the room,” Moran said. “The task was to use pencil marks on a piece of paper to evoke a sense of the space of the room we were all sitting in.
“It was a task of making invisible relationships between things around you visible.”
Chambers was a lively and brilliant conversationalist who held those around him rapt and delighted. “The topic would effortlessly turn from current events to 17th century painter Nicolas Poussin, from Islamic calligraphy to electronic composers, or from Gothic architecture to Morse code to Kandinsky, to concrete poetry to the exploration of deep-space,” Moran said. “The conversations always had a joyful and energetic curiosity about the world, its history and especially its future. They always seemed to come from a deep personal conviction about the essential and universal connectedness of all these things, and by extension an affirmation of the connectedness of all things.”