Edd Lambdin

Born 1935 Kentucky
group of monkeys

According to Betty-Carol Sellen in her book "Self-Taught, Outsider, and Folk Art" published in 2000, Edd Lambdin is a native Kentuckian "who supported himself as a carpenter and by doing construction work." Our initiation with the work of Edd Lambdin came in 1988 through the Art Jones Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Art Jones, a professor of Art History at University of Kentucky, Lexington opened a sliver of a gallery downtown on Fourth Street. His day job meant that his open hours were limited to Friday "openings" and Saturdays. Art usually arrived at the gallery on Saturday with new additions. We later learned that in addition to his personal discoveries of artist's and their art, Larry Hackley another dealer had befriended him and supplemented his artistic stable.

monkey with barbell

Information about Edd Lambdin, we were told, was very limited. The only connection anyone, including Art Jones, had with the entire Lambdin family was Larry Hackley. We were curious, but not prying.We purchased our first Lambdin monkey as they were referred to in 1988. It is, in our opinion, the best we have seen. He is in spotted tights and white go-go boots lifting a barbell. The application of paint is graphically spare and careful. He is in spotted tights and white go-go boots lifting a barbell. It has no evidence of having been made on a lathe as many of the heads on other monkeys appear. The head and snout are shaped in a very convincing manner; with the addition of blue beaded eyes, pencil eyebrows, and tiny dowel teeth. He is quite anthropomorphic, as are all of Edd Lambdin's work we have seen.

monkey riding lizard

We have seen and collected his birds or perhaps they are ducks? We have also grown fond of his lizards with small monkeys, reigns in hand, riding on their backs. We have collected or seen monkey families as tableaus, monkeys with wooden hatchets, monkeys on stools, monkeys as "snake handlers," monkeys as "madonna and child" ....

lambdin lady

Edd Lambdin also created pieces which were more human-like. We have a piece that is quite jaunty. It is a fuzzy haired girl with a florette in her hand and in her hair. We were told by Larry Hackley that Edd Lambdin's mother's home was adjacent to a funeral home and memorial grave site. He re-purposed materials from the dumpsters including the plastic flowers from graveside wreaths.

Larry Hackley told us that Edd became noticeably despondent when his mother was ill and after her death. He seemed to stop making his whimsical art and started making small boxes resembling coffins with a fuzzy haired lady inside. We assumed these represented his mother for whom he was grieving.

We believe his work is quite original, he made use of both materials he discovered in neighboring woods as well as other re-purposed or re-cycled materials. His work is represented in the permanent collection of fine art institutions including the Owensboro Museum of Art, the Kentucky Folk Art Center, and the Huntington Museum of Art in West Virginia.