Monday, January 7, 2008
Matthews Arts in Bellevue
Bellevue, famous for the “Live, Worship, Shop” sign, offers several unique and interesting establishments. The Creative TreeHouse and Affogato (the big red a) are regular stops on the blogosphere—enough so to attract several attendees of last year’s Pod Camp 2 to this sleepy little community in the North Boroughs. Also to be found here in the main business district is Matthew Arts.
If there is such a thing as the art version of the general store, Matthews is it. Local residents sit and discuss politics, provincial news and “what ever happened to…” All that’s missing is the potbellied stove. The offerings at the art center are as varied and colorful as its denizens. The lower level is reserved for studio classes; the main level offers an eclectic gallery interdisbursed with displays of art supplies, racks of postcards and bins of reproductions.
Matthews Art features a different artist every month exhibited in a salon style. The featured artist for January is Thomas Smith, aka Behon. Smith is a slightly eccentric (witness his unusual pricing scale) primitive artist who specializes in landscape painting. His naivety is less John Kane and more the stuff of Albert Pinkham Ryder. “Southern Maine” (oil on canvas) perhaps exemplifies this best with its dark and light striations. Its eerie, surrealistic mood is reinforced (as are several other works) by the delicate balance of a low chroma scheme. Included in Smith’s show are several pencil portraits of pop culture icons. His technical handling of this medium is superb and his draughtsmanship is outstanding.
Matthews Art is located on Balph off Lincoln and is open Tuesday through Saturday. The Art of Thomas Smith continues through the 29th of January.