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  • Design Credit: Kacy Ellis, Photo Credit: Wynn Myers. Dimensions: H 15 in. x W 12 in.
  • Design Credit: Jeremiah Brent Design, Photo Credit: Nicole Franzen. Dimensions: H 15 in. x W 12 in.
  • Design Credit: Sarah Shetter, Photo Credit: Boris Breuer. Dimensions: H 15 in. x W 12 in.
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Ralph Eugene Meatyard
Romance of Ambrose Bierce #3 [Romance (N.) from Ambrose Bierce #3]

1964/1974

Price Upon Request

About

From a portfolio of ten gelatin silver prints from original Meatyard negatives (1959-71) Printed April 1974 Edition of 130 Credit stamp, verso 7 x 7.5 inches, image 15 x 12 inches, mount This photograph is offered by ClampArt, located in New York City. “Meatyard took his definition of romance from The Devil’s Dictionary (1911) compiled by American writer Ambrose Bierce from the satirical pieces he published weekly in the late nineteenth century. The American grotesque of Bierce’s tall tales is here combined with Meatyard’s Surrealist inclinations and the European, particularly French, interest in primitive masks, perhaps with the intention of creating a parody of high art. Rather than sports fans, the stadium benches are occupied by indifferent gnome-like creatures wearing macabre, oversized, dime-store masks. A blending of cultures, real and imagined, confounds the viewer, as it does in Picasso’s landmark painting of 1907, Les Demoisselles d’Avignon. While quoting Picasso, Meatyard also references current Pop art (with the numbered benches) and comments on their contradictions. —Judith Keller, Ralph Eugene Meatyard (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2002), pp. 70-71 An optician by trade, Ralph Eugene Meatyard was a self-described “dedicated amateur” photographer. He pursued his own vision to produce an exquisitely enigmatic, widely admired body of work. Meatyard began taking photographs in 1950, roaming the backwoods and towns in Kentucky, experimenting with framing, multiple exposures, and blurring to produce haunting, abstracted images of natural and manmade environments. In the late 1950s, he began incorporating monstrous, oversized latex masks and hands into his photographs, in addition to plastic dolls. His family and friends were the protagonists in his carefully composed scenes. For Meatyard, who was inspired by literature, Zen Buddhism, and jazz, the masks served to equalize his subjects and shift focus elsewhere—to the poignant juxtaposition of otherworldly faces on human bodies, to the ambiguous and unknowable in human nature.

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