Artist Matt Lamb
Artist Matt Lamb
Artist Matt Lamb

“Wild, crazy, wonderful” paintings of Matt Lamb, who sold off one of the nation’s largest funeral-home businesses to become a self-taught artist, will be featured with his new biography in “Matt Lamb: A Mini-Retrospective 1990-2005,” the December and January exhibition at ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries, Coral Gables, Florida.
Titled “Matt Lamb: The Art of Success,” the biography was written by the award-winning art critic and journalist Richard Speer. The author will hold a book reading and signing at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9th.

Exhibition receptions will be held from 7-10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2nd and on Jan. 6th, to coincide with Gables Gallery Nights, held on the first Friday of every month. Matt Lamb will be present to autograph books on Jan. 6th. Also on hand will be gallery owner and director Virginia Miller, subject of one of the book’s chapters titled “Doyenne in Leather Pants.”

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 beloved 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 world and with spiritual forces...to express issues of universal 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.

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, Coral Gables; Vatican Museums, Rome; 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 Miró in Montroig, 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. in downtown Coral Gables, ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment. “Matt Lamb: A Mini-Retrospective 1990-2005” will be on exhibit until January 28, 2006. For more information on the artist and the gallery’s historical exhibitions, visit www.virginiamiller.com.

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