Fred Jamar has brought a new infusion of intellect and energy to Charleston's art scene.
Born in the village of Stembert in Southern Belgium, he has been a world traveler through most of his adult life. After graduating with honors from the Belgian Maritime College – he was valedictorian – and spending three years at sea, he studied finance. With an MA-equivalent degree, he joined J.P. Morgan & Co., where he helped to found a clearinghouse for Eurobonds in 1967. Staying with Morgan, Jamar worked in the sector focused on global credit risk exposure. He covered the globe. He has lived in Brussels, Paris, London, Frankfurt and New York.
In the early 1980's Jamar was based in the United States, and chose Kiawah as a favorite family vacation spot. That led to a solid acquaintance with Charleston. When he took early retirement in 1997, he chose to settle here "in this most European of American cities".
Central among Jamar’s many interests is a lifelong love of painting. When he was a small boy, he had a neighbor who created backdrops for theaters. Stimulated by this and other examples, he developed a great zest for artistic creation. As a child, he would paint on bedsheets, on cardboard, anything flat. In the Merchant Marine, he used discarded tarps and oil paints from the engine room. To this day, he enjoys process more than product. The smell of the oils and turpentine, the texture of the canvas, sensuality of brushes and paint are more important to him than any result.
His favorite medium by far is oil. He likes to experiment with new textures and techniques, sometimes putting brushes aside in favor of a knife or trowel. He typically composes as he applies the paint, with perhaps just one or two lines penciled on the canvas to guide him.
Influences include Vincent Van Gogh, Amedeo Modigliani, Maurice Utrillo, Bernard Buffet (seen in his portraits, especially his clown series) and Suzanne Valadon.
He is enormously prolific, with 107 works completed in the past year alone. He is also successful. Jamar has had many solo exhibitions at local galleries and has seen his art selected for the Charleston Marathon and the Cooper River Bridge Run Design Competition, which greatly expanded his regional exposure. He is also a juried-in exhibitor at the annual Piccolo Spoleto Art Festival.
His recent work has been dominated by Charleston cityscapes – not seen, however, with the traditional eye. The sky is generally very dark, inky Prussian blue, and starless. The trees are assembled color masses, balloon-like in appearance, and the buildings are intensely vivid in form and color, an impression heightened by the overhanging darkness. The mood is stock still. Most have no human or animal figures. It is as if Edward Hopper painted an abandoned carnival at 3 a.m.
Fraser’s painting entitled Broad Street is on display on Concourse B.
For more information, Jamar’s working is found exclusively at Robert Lange Studio in the French Quarter , 2 Queen St., in downtown, Charleston, S.C. www.robertlangestudios.com
and at Mary Martin Gallery in Naples, Fla., www.marymartingallery.com
Artist self portrait source: fredpaintings.com