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Jack Chambers

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Biography

Jack Chambers, already well established as a painter, embarked on a short-lived but significant career as a filmmaker in the mid-1960s. Chambers' artistic practice was described as “perceptual realism” and stood in counterpoint to the dominant abstract styles of his day. His films are particularly noted for their formal investigations of the properties of light and for their thematic examinations of the cycle of life and death. His filmmaking style has been compared to that of Stan Brakhage. Brakhage himself commented on Chambers’ contribution to experimental cinema: “The four films of Jack Chambers have changed the whole history of film, despite their neglect, in a way that isn’t possible within the field of painting.” In 1967, issues surrounding copyright payment and rental fees led Chambers to stage a campaign for what he termed “fair exchange: payment for services” and eventually he became one of the founders of Canadian Artists’ Representation. After a ten-year battle with leukemia, Jack Chambers died in 1978 at the age of 47.