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05 April - 15 May 2007
Marble Palace

The one-man retrospective show of Matt Lamb, an American artist, whose oeuvre belongs to both contemporary art and Outsider art, is held in the Russian Museum in the rooms of the Marble Palace. The exhibition shows more than a hundred of his works of different creative periods. Matt Lamb (born 1932), a successful American businessman, started to paint in 1984, at the age of 52. Suddenly the doctors made him a fatal diagnosis. It took a full-time businessman three years to turn into a full-time artist. Lamb commenced his art career with still-lifes of flowers. Lamb's bouquets were his own experimental proving ground in which he developed all possible channels of transference and transition - as a means of carrying us into his own, created world. Lamb mythologised the material and the technique: he soaked his canvases in waters (which precise waters - those that lap the shores of Ireland or the Florida Keys - being important to the artist), and then, with the aim of creating a kind of underlayer of colour, he kept it submerged in paint, before letting it dry slowly over a long period. The result is 'a canvas with a past', with a past that is organic, 'pre-writing'. Then the artist applied his own image: the canvas is painted and repainted. In Lamb's artistic practice the mythologisation and ritualisation of the very process of creation, like the introduction of chronotope, play a very important role. These things serve as channels that unite the real world and the artificial, artistic world. By the end of the 1980s Lamb was creating his own profoundly personal world according to the rules of his own poetics. No longer was this an all-consuming lava-environment, nor made up of separate 'subjects' and 'scenes', but a universum inhabited by quite specific characters. Lamb's iconography is consistent: biblical figures and his own Lambian peoples. Today Matt Lamb ranges with the renowned contemporary artists of the world. More than 1900 of his works are presented in museums, private and public collections. A. Borovsky "Matt Lamb: Beneath an Umbrella of Hope"