Jim Adams
Berbati's Pan, 248-4579
Through Sept 30

Using graphite, Jim Adams delicately articulates a collection of surrealist caricatures on paper, which resemble super bizarre storybook images. Grotesquely manipulated figures and animals are frozen in mysterious interaction, and their setting is riddled with monumental vegetables, teapots, architecture, mountains, and other random objects. Swaths of thread-like value emerge from the paper's surface, defining a wide vocabulary of textures.

At first, the figures seem arbitrarily posed in nonsensical narratives, but upon closer inspection, one discovers a blend of child-like fantasy and more adult, intellectual themes. In one image, two emaciated figures entwine in a hug. In another, an old man is strapped into his recliner. The titles act as obscure descriptions, such as Give Me Your Muddled Masses and The Weight of the World. Some drawings are framed, including found objects such as horseshoes and little plastic blimps, which add a shrine-like quality and heighten the playfulness of the images.

Adams work is difficult to describe, because reality only plays a small part in his logic. Adams' images read like nightmarish cartoons arriving from a life of comic books and adult struggle. The result is darkly humorous. Under the layer of comedic illustration lies a hazy poignancy of issues such as greed, sorrow, love, searching, etc. In Thuja Tests the Water, a skinny vegetable man with an exasperated strain on his face and caterpillar arms marches drudgingly forward. Behind him is a mean looking herd of goat-cow creatures--on one an apparition of a monkey rides cross-legged. The foreground consists of an open door, softly tilting on the edge of collapse, and the background is a row of giant carrots with smoking volcanoes in the distance.

In Berman Confounds the Experts, a pudgy individual happily licks his lips while patting his diaper-clad belly. He seems oblivious to the large, three-fingered Mickey Mouse glove that ominously hovers above him. Another round figure, with a sharp chicken beak and carrot legs, stands in observation. There are car mufflers, walnuts, a stick horse, and a picture frame hanging in the background. A claymation like giraffe pokes out form the corner. Adams has successfully transferred his strange imagination to paper.