Through this in depth look at the life and art of Herbert Creecy, one of Georgia’s most prolific artists, we encourage you to dive into MOCA GA’s permanent collection and archives. Please enjoy exploring the online collections through the links in the biography below.

Herbert Lee Creecy, Jr. (1939-2003) was an exceptionally talented and successful abstract expressionist artist of Georgia. Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Creecy grew up in Atlanta, where he met lifetime friends, Shepard Ansley, Alfred Kennedy, and Alston Glenn and. After a two year stint at the University of Alabama (originally for dentistry), where he studied commercial art, Creecy returned to Atlanta, and enrolled in the Atlanta School of art, graduating in 1964.  Atlanta School of Art faculty chose Creecy as the recipient of an annual fellowship from the French government to study abroad. Creecy studied with Stanley William Hayter founder of Atelier 17 studio established in Montparnasse in 1927.

From the start, Creecy was a favorite of then High Museum of Art director Gudmund Vigtel, earning him solo shows in 1964 and 1971 . He moved out of the City of Atlanta in the early 1970’s, first to an old Wooden house in Suwanee, then settling into a large old cotton mill in Barnesville, GA. This space was both studio and living quarters for many years, and remained his studio for the rest of his life. Even in his early years he was a prolific painter, averaging 10 paintings a week. Upon his death in 2003, there were 3000 paintings in his Barnesville studio. In addition to many group exhibitions, Creecy averaged one solo show per year throughout much of his working career. Not long after his second show at the High Museum, he impressed the owner of the famous New York O K Harris gallery so much, that he quickly earned a one man show, and recognition in the harsh but profitable art market of Soho.

Herbert Creecy
Photography by Jerry Siegel

Creecy: A Survey of Major Paintings
Photography by Michael McKelvey

Despite his New York success, Creecy chose to remain a Southern artist, but his artwork, found in numerous public and private collections, has been exhibited all over the United States, from Georgia to Washington DC, New York and California, as well as internationally in Italy and London.

For a short time during his career, Creecy worked as a guest lecturer, but his passion was always in creating art. He was continuously exploring art, and he developed many techniques including utilizing an air-brush to splay wet paint with a rhythmic effect, and a technique borrowed from printmaking and polyurethane transfers, in which he applied the polymer on the canvas and used a squeegee to press the liquid into the top layer of paint creating new dimension and random contours upon the canvas.

Additional records of interst:

  • MOCA GA presents Creecy, an Alan Stecker video production Celebrating the life and art of Herbert Creecy, made possibly with a grant from the Judith Rothchild Foundation.
  • MOCA GA produced a full color catalogue in 2016 of the works within our permanent collection in conjunction with the exhibition: Creecy: A Survey of Major Paintings.