Tops Gallery at Madison Avenue Park / 151 Madison Ave. August 31, 2020 - December 31, 2020

Luther Hampton

Tops Gallery is pleased to present Luther Hampton, an exhibition of seventeen sculptures made between 1968 and 2000.

Luther Hampton was born in Memphis, TN in 1942. He traces his interest in reductive sculpture to a childhood love of whittling that gradually developed into more sophisticated and ambitious carving techniques. Hampton was already an accomplished sculptor when he enrolled at the Memphis Academy of Art in 1969 and later graduated from in 1973. 

With influences ranging from African art and the African American high crafts and wood carving traditions to Michelangelo, William Edmondson, José de Creeft and Elizabeth Catlett, Hampton's regard for both vernacular and refined sculptural traditions inform his work. Echoing this range, the subject matter of Hampton's sculptures are a reflection of both his lived experience and major forms in the history of world art. Fourteen of the works in this exhibition are representations of black women. Young and old, alluring and stolid. Archetypal. All strong. The form and finish of each work from stylized to rough hewn, is perfectly apt for each woman rendered. One of the earliest pieces in the show, dating from 1968, is a strikingly virtuosic abstract sculpture. It is a remarkably complete and accomplished work especially for a young artist. But it is clear that Hampton chose to concentrate on the less ambiguous style of figurative representation to reflect his experience, history and world.

This exhibition is a concise survey that represents a small but excellent example of Luther Hampton's oeuvre. Hampton is an artist whose restless energy spans sculpture, painting, and drawing. From his ceaseless sketching to his carving of talisman sized works and engagement in large form work, Hampton maintains a total commitment to his art.

Tops would like to thank to Jim Varner and Elliot & Kimberly Perry for generously lending sculptures for this exhibition.

Visiting the gallery:

The gallery will be open by appointment every day of the week depending on availability. Please call 901 340-0134 or email info@topsgallery.com to schedule an appointment. Advance notice is appreciated, but we will do our best to accommodate last minute appointments as well. Also, as we monitor the state of public health we hope to have some gallery hours that will be posted on our Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/tops_gallery. The Madison Avenue Park space is on view 24/7.