'Matt Lamb:  The Art of Success'
New exhibit coincides with release of artist's biography


"Wild, crazy, wonderful" paintings by 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.  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., at 8 p.m. Friday.

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 art critic, Sister Wendy Becket, noted 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."

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 Vatican Museums, Knoxville Art Museum, Beverly Art Center, Spertus Museum of Judaica, and The National Treasury, Washington, D.C.  He was the first living artist to have a one-person exhibition in London's Westminster Cathedral.  He also has held one-person exhibitions in both the Centre-Picasso in Horta de San Joan, Spain, and the Centre Joan Miro in Mont-roig, Spain.  ArtSpace/Virginia :Miller Galleries featured his work in one-person exhibitions in 1999 and 2003, as well as at Art Miami and Art Palm Beach.  Virginia Miller is the subject of one of the book's chapters, titled "The Doyenne in Leather Pants."