Since 1986, the Huntsville Museum of Art has presented a noteworthy series of solo exhibitions highlighting acclaimed regional contemporary artists. These Encounters exhibitions afford viewers an opportunity to see how creative inspiration combines with subject and materials to convey a unique artistic expression. Throughout the years, the Encounters series has developed a strong critical reputation in the Southeast. The galleries that house the exhibitions are large enough to accommodate a solid body of work, yet small enough to retain a sense of intimacy and focus. A well-designed and illustrated catalogue, featuring an extended interview with the artist, accompanies each exhibition. The upcoming installment of the series focuses on the accomplished works of Greely Myatt, a talented sculptor based in Memphis, Tennessee.
Greely Myatt is widely recognized for his whimsical, sculptural objects and monumental installations. Engaging with surrealism, pop, folk, and outsider art, he has developed a compelling visual language of reimagined but recognizable forms. Through his works, Myatt seeks to spark a dialogue with the viewer around ideas of genre and style, form and content, scale and site, identity and place, and art and craft. He explores these sometimes competing notions through continuous reinterpretations of tangible objects like rag rugs and Southern quilts, as well as more conceptual motifs like comic strip speech bubbles.
The materials Myatt uses to create his works – found broom handles, discarded signage, neon lights, metal scraps and the like – lend them an accessibility and a personal connection for the viewer. In addition to found materials, he incorporates elements like plants, quilts, and rugs into his pieces to reference his rural Southern childhood, setting them against abstract elements such as light, air, and negative space to spark a visual and mental dialogue. Myatt also likes to combine high art references with vernacular influences in the same piece, paying homage to fine artists like Constantin Brancusi and Philip Guston as well as popular cartoonists like Saul Steinberg and R. Crumb.
Born and raised in Mississippi, Myatt is now based in Memphis, Tennessee. He received his MFA from the University of Mississippi and his BFA from Delta State University, and is a long-time professor of art at The University of Memphis. His sculptures and installations have been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions across the United States, Europe and Japan. He has received grants and fellowships from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the University of Memphis, and the University of Georgia. He also received the Mississippi Arts and Letters Visual Arts Award in 1994. In 2009, a twenty-year retrospective of Myatt’s work was exhibited across Memphis in nine museum and gallery venues.
Encounters: Greely Myatt opens in the Grisham gallery of the Huntsville Museum of Art on June 6, 2021, led by an opening presentation at 2 p.m. that afternoon. Access to the opening presentation will be included with the general price of admission and free for members. Tickets can be purchased at the front desk in the lobby of the Museum or online here. The striking exhibition will be on display until August 29, 2021.