August 4, 2012

Rafer Roberts' Fever Dreams of Organic Machines Gallery Opening

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of attending the opening of my friend and comic creator Rafer Roberts' gallery exhibition, "Fever Dreams of Organic Machines" which places Rafer's comic book work in an art gallery.  Located on the 2nd floor of the VisArts Common Ground Gallery in Rockville, Maryland, the room features a little over two dozen of Rafer's drawings, curated by the artist himself.

For those unfamiliar, Rafer Roberts is primarily known for his work on Plastic Farm, a long-running and ongoing comic about one man's descent into madness, primarily worked on by Rafer himself, but with a few others here and there.  It was an early favorite of mine as I explored independent comics, and ever since, I've been a big fan of Rafer's work.  Recently, Rafer's been working on a wide variety of projects, including regular contributions to the tabloid anthology Magic Bullet (of which he was the first editor) and working in the clever zombie-themed FUBAR collections.

People examining Rafer's linework.

I've always liked Rafer's detailed art, which has only improved over the years as his composition skills and stylistic variety changed over time.  It was cool to see the difference between his early Plastic Farm work and panels from his more recent issues to note the differences.  Close-up and at full size, Rafer's linework is something to behold, especially when it features cross-hatching.

Rafer Reads at the Opening
If you've ever met Rafer, you know he's a very funny man.  That showed in his gallery reading, in which he selected two pieces (oddly enough, neither of which were Plastic Farm-related) and vamped a bit about their creation.  Both readings featured his signature wit and willingness to gross out a group of people and were accompanied by visuals from each project.

I realize I'm not very objective in this case because this isn't like going to a standard opening--Rafer is someone I've known for years and consider to be one of my best friends in comics.  Outside of that, however, he's one heck of a good artist and writer with a very distinctive style that looks even better hanging on the wall than it does on a printed page.  If you are in the DC area, take some time to stop by and see his work life-sized.  The gallery stays open until September 8th and is free, as is parking if you get it validated by a merchant or stay for less than an hour.

If you want to see a few more photos, you can find them at my Flickr set for the opening.