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***DAVID BERMAN has spent the last two decades in the public eye, stalking out his own territory as the leader of the rock band SILVER JEWS as well as poet and writer of the book Actual Air. In both cases, his address to the world has been marked with a singular touch; a literate, yet low-budget approach to communicating the beauty and absurdity of Earth-based life. Over the course of this time, his drawings have accented lyric sheets, enlivened autograph sessions and eventually provoked more than one request for a collection of the same. This accounts for The Portable February, a cheaply-priced but handsomely appointed hardcover compendium of the Berman visual sensibility. The sound of David Berman is familiar to the popular music world. The look of Berman isn’t far off: a left-handed, child-like scrawl, scored with a wit and observation that confutes the often primitive nature of his line. Running the gamut from faux-political to faux-New Yorker, Berman’s cartoons incorporate strains of high comedy and low comedy, wistful Americana, contemporary art, dream visions and a visual analog to the semi-penetrable personal allusions that have comprised his writing over the years. The Portable February is funny, sure—but it has as many moods as the day is long in the summer and short in the wintertime. As the artist himself put it, “The drawings are pitched into some rudimentary space of public art, a place we might think of as between and below Gary Larson and Raymond Pettibon.” Hardcover book, 97 pages. (STREET DATE - 6/23/2009)