Wynn Chamberlain (1927-2014)

Brand X (1970)

Following military service in the American army he went on to study at the University of Idaho before studying philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, where he was to discover his love of painting. He held his first solo-exhibition in Milwaukee, in1951. During the 1950s and 1960s, his realistic landscapes, interior pictures and allegorical paintings were exhibited throughout America and Europe. Although his paintings of the 1960s assumed an increasingly abstract character, he held a large-scale exhibition of nude portraits in the Fischbach Gallery 1965: The portraits depict key and highly respected contemporary literary figures of the New York scene − such as Frank O’Hara, Frank Lima or Allen Ginsberg. He also became a member of the inner circle around Andy Warhol, in 1960. It was during this period that he began turning away from painting, focusing increasingly on film and theater. He produced Charles Ludlam’s »Conquest of the Universe« at Bouwerie Lane Theater in 1976, before commencing work on the film »BRAND X«, which celebrated its premier showing in 1970.

In 1970 Chamberlain not only left the underground scene , but also the world of art: he burned his paintings before departing − together with his wife Frau Sally Stokes and their two children − to India, where he lived for five years. On returning to America the family purchased some land, lived for three years in a tent and cultivated most of their own food. It was at this time that Chamberlain dedicated himself to writing: his first novel »Gates of Fire« was published in 1978: as with his third novel, the plot of »Then Spoke the Thunder« centered in India. His last novel to date »Paradise« was published in 2006. Chamberlain has been resident in Morocco since 2009.