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What Makes the Earth Shake
On view September 10–November 20, 2022
Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art
Reston, Virginia

Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art (Tephra ICA) will present What Makes the Earth Shake featuring work by proliferate, figurative painter Dominic Chambers, opening on September 10. This is the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in the Washington, DC metropolitan region.

Dominic Chambers (b. 1993 St. Louis, MO; lives and works in New Haven, CT) creates vibrant paintings that engage art historical models, such as color field theory and gestural abstraction, along with contemporary concerns around race, identity, and the necessity for leisure. Chambers is interested in how art can function as a mode for understanding, recontextualizing, or renegotiating one’s relationship to the world, and views painting as a critical and intellectual endeavor, as much as it is aesthetic.

A writer himself, Chambers draws inspiration from literature, especially the literary genre Magical Realism and the writing of W.E.B. Du Bois, particularly Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, and one of its central themes―the veil. The veil, a product of racial injustice serving as a metaphorical lens through which black bodies are observed and experienced, appears throughout the artist’s work such as in the large swaths of color that obscure the figures. The works by Dominic Chambers in What Makes the Earth Shake highlight the surreal conditions pervading black life. Surrealism manifests on the periphery of a seemingly ordinary experience, where racial undertones are the shadows of conversation.

[Image: Dominic Chambers, Shadow Work, 2021. Oil on linen, 56 x 66 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.]