At last Friday's Unblurred gallery crawl I caught as much as I could in 90 minutes along Penn Ave. There was some nice stuff, from the "dance mural" performance at Dance Alloy to the Jon Howe vs Jason Sauer show at Most Wanted Fine Art (with Sauer's intriguing collages of real auto parts and religious iconography facing off against Howe's cunning mixed-media pieces). But the biggest surprise was at Garfield Artworks.
Matthews is a local character who earned some notoriety back in the '90s, posting amusing personals ads for himself on neighborhood phone poles. I've known him casually for years, mostly as someone who also shows up at a lot of gallery openings and literary readings. I knew he wrote short stories and essays, but his couple dozen paintings at Garfart were news to me (though he's exhibited before around town).
Collectively titled Comminuted Fracture, the paintings date from 1987 to the present. The older and quite competent abstracts gave way to newer pieces incorporating smartly rendered charactes in the style of indie comix, imbued with a wackily macabre sensibility.
One painting depicted a lushly bearded man in a furry fez and a sort of robe whose cuffs flapped loose; "I have no hands and I must fist bump," read the text. Another featured a scrawny cat, bound and muzzled, while an insane-looking, goggle-eyed flying creature hovered above him. There was also some oblique social commentary: In another painting, a man in vaguely Scottish costuming stood in a big sack filled not with gold coins but little pills. Title: "Bailout Prozac."
Comminuted Fracture (named for the broken elbow Matthews got in March, running to Garfield Artworks, he says) runs through September.