Before he became a painter and a sculptor, Chicagoan Matt Lamb had a
long, successful business career overseeing a chain of funeral homes.
It was only after he survived a life threatening illness at age fifty
that he decided to devote his life to creating art. Completely self-taught,
his artwork is a reflection of his own strong philosophies and religious
beliefs. My work is like an archaeological dig into the mind and
psyche... says Lamb, I put a lot of religion in my paintings
which helps me work through my philosophies.
Visually, Lambs paintings are generally a play of texture and
color. Most of his works have figurative elements with a cast of characters
who seem to recur in different configurations in many of the paintings.
He says hes had these images in his mind all of his life: floating
heads, plants, fish, animals, birds, Indians, hooded figures, spirits
and religious figures.
Not only is Lamb a completely self-taught artist, he created a completely
new painting technique. He calls his paintings generational:
multiple paintings layered onto the same canvas. He primes his surfaces
with a mixture of cement, gesso and oil-based mediums, which takes months
to dry. He then paints layer after layer of images over this coarse,
textured foundation, often using sandpaper and a blowtorch to blister
and morph the image further. What results is often been described as
primordial or volcanic.
Lambs home base is still Chicago, despite the fact he has studios
in many parts of the world including Florida, Wisconsin, Ireland and
Germany. Matt Lamb has exhibited his art throughout the world; from
the Vatican to the Mall of America.
out Matt Lamb: The Art of Success, a new book by Richard Speer
“As I pick my way through life as an artist, I feel I'm a pilgrim
in an alien world, living in the material and destined for the spiritual.
I try to make sense out of chaotic situations I see all around me and
still keep a joyful approach to life.
My work is about the spirit, life, death, resurrection and how we react
as people to the events that are brought to our attention. With the
information we receive we can be sad and glad, joyful, sorrowful, harsh
and pleasurable all at the same time.
How can I be alone in a crowd? The paradoxes of life baffle me. I try
to work out my own rationale in my work. The biblical verse I use is,
unless we become as little children we cannot enter the kingdom
Because of all the walls we have built to protect ourselves and all
of the hidden fears and prejudices we harbor, it is hard for us to
become children. To truly interact with my work, I must become like
a little child every day of my life. I must admit, this task in not
want to go around the world, spreading a message of peace and tolerance"
related Matt Lamb web sites:
"The global campaign The Lamb Umbrellas for Peace,
that began in 2002, consists of painting umbrellas with students from
all over the world, exhibiting them in a pacific demonstration. The
project's aim is to make children, teachers and artists understand that
they become messengers of peace."