RALPH EUGENE MEATYARD: Stages for Being
Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Stages for Being
Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925 – 1972) made his living as an optician in Lexington while creating enigmatic photographs featuring friends and family members posed in abandoned places, often wearing masks or enacting symbolic gestures. “He picked the environment first,” Christopher Meatyard says of his father’s method. “Then he’d look at the particular light in that moment in that place, and start composing scenes using the camera.” Subjects were placed in the frame and given direction to move or stand still. The results are simultaneously tender, surreal, and theatrical.
Meatyard’s work has been widely exhibited at museums and galleries around the world, but he has not had a significant solo exhibition in his hometown. Stages for Being brings together numerous vintage prints from the 1950s and 60s, many which have not been exhibited or reproduced before. These works reveal Meatyard’s selection of architecture and outdoor environments that frame the human body to create provocative moments of narrative.
The implied stories in Meatyard’s work can be used as jumping-off points for various productions that can broaden the ways in which his images are understood and appreciated. This exhibition, presented on a university campus, provides that opportunity: related plays, poems, and concerts will be presented in the Museum throughout the fall.
Special thanks to VisitLEX for their generous support of our fall exhibitions and public programs. Additional support comes from the Albisetti Exhibition Fund, the College of Fine Arts, and WUKY.
This exhibition would not be possible without the generosity and trust of Christopher and Diane Meatyard.
RALPH EUGENE MEATYARD, Untitled, 1962, gelatin silver photograph. © The Estate Of Ralph Eugene Meatyard, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery
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Closed June 18 and 19 in observation of the Juneteenth holiday