Not counting crows

Darrell Forney, “Spike Jones,” oil on canvas.

Darrell Forney, “Spike Jones,” oil on canvas.

The late Darrell Forney may be known for painting crows, along with his whimsical take on picture postcards. But there’s another dimension to his oeuvre, which the MatrixArts Space is exhibiting this month in a show called Darrell Forney: The Other Side in 3-D.

Forney, a Sacramento artist and teacher who came of age with Gregory Kondos and Wayne Thiebaud, died of a stroke last December at age 68. He left a number of art pieces not seen by many people—either because galleries decided these works didn’t fit the shows they were curating, or because Forney decided not to release them for whatever reason. The works range from large abstract oils (from the late ’70s and early ’80s; one of them, “Sky,” appears to contain the World Trade Center’s twin towers, multiple impact points and a dotted-line trajectory) that presciently anticipate contemporary graffiti art to assembled, collage-like pieces that form humorous non-sequitorial narratives from ’40s- and ’50s-vintage advertising cartoons—think Charles Atlas meets Marcel Duchamp—to funky acrylics with inscrutable subject matter, to archival sketches and block prints, some dating back to the ’50s.

A few paintings include Forney’s signature crows, but most don’t. According to the singularly monickered Rhett, MatrixArts’ director, this is the stuff that Forney really liked to create, works where he could really stretch his wings.

The vibrant color schemes and busy motifs lend themselves to what some might find to be one of this show’s kitschier aspects: 3-D glasses will be offered to anyone who wants to view Forney’s art through them; Rhett was impressed by a 3-D exhibit of paintings by the also-singularly monickered Skinner at Toyroom Gallery a few months back.

Given the offbeat nature of the show, Rhett also may hang papier-mâché crows outside, or engage in some other prank. “I might even do a potato installation,” he says. “I really want [the show] to be crazy.”

Two events are scheduled: A Second Saturday opening will be held August 10 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., with a closing reception on Saturday, August 31 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The latter will be a benefit for MatrixKids, a children’s art program; admission for that will be $10 (or $7 in advance); some of Forney’s films will be shown, guest speakers will talk about his art, and some of his favorite music will be played.