Adam Matak's Exhibit Reads Like Really Smart Comics
Friday night was the opening of Adam Matak's latest art exhibit in Toronto, Secondary Sources at the new Walnut Gallery on West Queen West. Even walking up to the glass-encased gallery I see some of sharply bright paintings peeking through the crowd. I walk up to chat with a few people I know as a pretty girl behind me skewers my ankle with her heel, more than slightly drunk while I mentally curse the open bar and blaring hip hop like the nerd I am.
I like "Portrait of a Young Scholar" showing a man reading the Arts section of the paper with his back to the artwork, his thought being "well this explains everything".At first glance I see improvised sketches, permanent marker applying sharp scribbles on bright uniform acrylic swatches.
But slowly I see it resolve into a more careful study, the almost clinically minimal illustrations, text that could be typeset, and the carefully restrained details. The co-opted comic and graphic styles project a deceptively casual presentation that unfolds onion-like into a deeper commentary on art perspectives.
As I'm chatting with Adam he's refreshingly affable, quirky as artists tend to be. He grins, looking at the shiny crowd, some people even dancing, others talking about where to go next. "This is what it's about, I mean how many people here do you see looking at the art?" And I wonder if the whole opening is an exhibition in his head.
I go to get another glass of wine.