Matt Lamb by Carlos Suarez De Jesus, December 8 2005, Miami New Times
Matt Lamb by Coral Gables Gazette, December 2005
Matt Lamb by ArtPremium, November 2005 (Spanish)
Matt Lamb by Richard Speer, September 2003, ARTnews
Miami New Times
December 8-14, 2005
by Carlos Suarez De Jesus
|Upon encountering the uninhibitedly zany work of self-taught artist Matt Lamb, one usually walks away feeling as if doused by an invigorating bucket of joy and swept into his vision of a childlike utopia. His jubilantly naive paintings spill over with imaginary creatures, remarkably complex surfaces, and riots of luscious colors, and exude a feeling of whimsical fantasy. They may remind Lamb how lucky he is to have escaped death's door: The paradoxical multimillionaire outsider, who calls himself "a pilgrim in an alien world," is a former funeral home magnate who was misdiagnosed with a fatal illness before selling his business and pursuing a lifelong dream of becoming a painter.
Author Richard Speer will sign copies of Matt Lamb: The Art of Success tonight at 8:00 at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, coinciding with an exhibit at ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries, 169 Madeira Ave., Coral Gables. Call 305-444-4493. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus
Matt Lamb, Untitled
30 x 40 inches, 2000, Oil on Canvas
|Coral Gables Gazette
December 8-14, 2005
'Matt Lamb: The Art of Success'
New exhibit coincides with release of artist's biography
"Wild, crazy, wonderful" paintings of Matt Lamb, who sold one of the nation's largest funeral-home businesses to become a self-taught artist, are featured along with his new biography at ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries.
Matt Lamb, Untitled
48 x 36 inches, 1990, Oil on Canvas
Titled "Matt Lamb: The Art of Success," the biography was written by the award-winning art critic and j ournalist Richard Speer. The author will hold a book reading and signing at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9.
At the entrance to Lamb's first exhibition at her gallery in 1999, Virginia Miller posted this warning: "This is not tame art. This is wild, crazy, wonderful work that engages the emotions and challenges the intellect of the viewer."
Public television's art critic, Sister Wendy Beckett, notes that Lamb "is an artist who celebrates life, with big, free shapes and unabashed color.
Donald Kuspit, the renowned art historian and critic, feels that "Lamb renders the comedy of life with a general sense of its absurdity...For Lamb, the world is a fool's paradise."
According to Dr. Carol Damian, chair of the Florida International University art department, "Lamb's fantasy is created as a domain for creatures of love and harmony, "a covenant with the natural work and with spiritual forces...to express issues ofuniversal significance."
Lamb's transition from a highly successful funeral home director to an internationally recognized artist, covered in detail in his biography, is ready-made material for a Hollywood movie. After he was told he had only a short time to live, Lamb sold his 32 companies and took up his life-long ambition to become a painter. By the time he learned he was misdiagnosed, his career as an artist was launched. Over the past 20 years, Lamb has become a well-respected artist whose work has been widely exhibited and collected. Some of the major collections that include Lamb's paintings are the Lowe Art Museum; Vatican Museums; Knoxville Art Museum, Tennessee; Rockford Art Museum, Illinois; Pierre Cardin, Paris; the National Treasury, Washington; D.C.; the State of Illinois Collection, Chicago; Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Chicago; Beverly Art Center, Chicago; Richard M. Daley, former mayor of Chicago; Edward J. Derwinski, former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs; the Spertus Museum of Judaica, Chicago; St. Xavier College, Chicago; and the VA Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
Lamb has held some five dozen solo exhibitions in leading galleries, museums and public spaces around the world. He was the first living artist to have a one-person exhibition in London's Westminister Cathedral.
He also has held one-person exhibitions in both the Picasso Museum in Horta de Sant Joan, Spain, and at the Centre Mirti in Mont-roig, Spain.
ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries featured his work in one-person exhibitions in 1999 and 2000 as well as at ArtMiami and Art Palm Beach.
In recent years Lamb's foundation has opened a series of "peace centers" and museums in Germany, Argentina, and Japan.
The exhibition will be comprised of a mini-retrospective, featuring paintings from the 1990s through the present. Lamb's subject matter ranges from his invented iconography of stylized animals and figures symbolizing the gamut of human strengths and foibles to creamy abstractions.
His self-taught techniques, which include blasting some painted areas with a blowtorch, can result in an incredible depth of color, along with unique patinas and textures.
Located at 169 Madeira Ave., ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries is open from 11 all. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment. "Matt Lamb: A Salute to Success" will be on exhibit until Jan. 28, 2006.
For more information on the artist and the gallery's historical exhibitions, visit www.virginiamiller.com.
An exhibition reception will be held from 7-10 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2006, to coincide with Gables Gallery Nights, held on the first Friday of every month. Matt Lamb will be present to autograph books on Jan. 6, 2006.
Also on hand will be gallery owner and director Virginia Miller, subject of one of the book's chapters titled "Doyenne in Leather Pants."
Pinturas del autodidacta Matt Lamb en ArtSpace / Virginia Miller
Matt Lamb: A Salute to Success es el nombre de la exhibición que celebra la nueva biografia de Lamb, escrita por Richard Speer. La interesante carrera de este artista se ve realzada por su también interesante biografia. Luego de recibir un diagnóstico de cancer terminal, Lamb decidió liquidar sus 32 exitosas companias y dedicar los Ultimos años de su vida a la pintura. No fue sino después de haber vendido todo y haber comenzado su carrera como pintor, que descubrió que el diagnóstico habia sido erróneo.
Matt Lamb, Untitled
60 3/4 x 69 inches, 1996, Oil on Canvas
En los Ultimos veinte arms, Lamb ha forjado una trayectoria impresionante. Su éxito en los negocios se repite con su carrera artistica pues ya ha expuesto individualmente en más de 60 ocasiones en galerias de renombre, museos y espacios pUblicos alrededor del mundo. Fue el primer artista que, en vida, tuvo una exhibición en la Catedral Westminster de Londres.
Los Museos del Vaticano, el Museo de Arte de Knoxville en Tennesee, el Pierre Cardin en Paris, el Tesoro Nacional en Washington D.C., la Colección del Estado de Illinois en Chicago y de St. Xavier College en Chicago se precian en albergar obras de Lamb en sus colecciones.
La presente exhibición consistirá en una mini-retrospectiva, e incluirá pinturas hechas desde los ochenta hasta el presente. Matt Lamb: A Salute to Success estará expuesta desde el 2 de diciembre hasta el 28 de enero de 2006.
by Richard Speer, September
Coral Gables, Florida
puckers like Matt Lamb. Working with mutually repellent
materials such as oil paint, turpentine, linseed oil,
and concrete, the self-taught artist achieves weirdly
pocked and nuggety surfaces that often evoke Yves Klein's "RE" series.
In his recent exhibition "Evolution of a Vision," it
was clear that Lamb's virtuosic riffs on surface topography
are the guiding force and principal appeal of his naive,
figurative paintings. His art deserves more attention
than his personal history, which to date has gained
him more coverage. A former funeral-home magnate, Lamb
is a multimillionaire and has six studios around the
world. Although he's self-taught, his status as an
outsider artist is hotly contested, largely because
he has not lived "outside" mainstream society.
In a cloud of controversy in January 2003, his work
was banned from the Outsider Art Fair in New York.
Matt Lamb, Untitled
55 x 48 inches, 2002, Oil on Canvas
An untitled work here turns a giant
dollop of crinkled paint into a man's hat, while another
uses a sinfully luxuriant impasto applied with a whisk
broom as a figure's hair. Time after time. Lamb blends
technique and subject matter in an improbable, sometimes
jaw-dropping fashion. His characters-dogs, fishes, elephants,
and human-animal-plant hybrids-are shadows of another
dimension, according to the artist, and they appear as such.
In another vein, a floral still life whose volcanic vase spews blossoms,
greenery, and ghostly figures attests to the painter's bravura take on the
idiom, informed by the obsessive zeal with which he formerly arranged funeral
bouquets. Departing from primary colors, here Lamb favors a coral palette
with infusions of mint green and thrilling passages in silver leaf.
One only wishes the show had delved more deeply into the artist's recent
foray into abstraction. Lamb has produced dynamic gestural paintings, and
is highly sophisticated as a neo-expressionist.
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