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The University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts

RALPH EUGENE MEATYARD: Stages for Being

The Art Museum will be closed to the public July 30 to Sept. 7, to prepare for this exhibition, which opens to the public on Sept. 8

 

RALPH EUGENE MEATYARD: Stages for Being

September 8 – December 9, 2018

 

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.

 

This exhibition would not be possible without the generosity and trust of Christopher and Diane Meatyard
 

RALPH EUGENE MEATYARD, Untitled (detail),1962, gelatin silver photograph. © The Estate Of Ralph Eugene Meatyard, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery