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Shortly after his new show successfully opens, city artist Peterson is whisked off to little Beerpoele to build the centerpiece of the town’s first biennial. The organizer admits as he drives him there that the other artists involved are all townsfolk. One really is a kind of artist. The others . . . mean to be helpful. Peterson decides upon a monumental installation, a garden gnome three-stories high. It gets built, though not without some grueling all-nighters. Meanwhile, sadly funny little dramas swirl around it. Evens uses a dazzling ink-and-brush technique and eschews ruled borders to tell a small story impressively and prettily. Each character’s form and dialogue appear in a particular shade, and art history is tellingly referenced by, for instance, a sad-sack character resembling Munch’s screamer, another accoutered like a Picasso Blue Period Pierrot, and a splash-page variation on the unicorn tapestries in the Cloisters in New York City. Evens writes as cannily as he draws, producing a deceptively nonchalant, deeply humane, and fancifully realistic comedy-drama reminiscent of the films of Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer. --Ray Olson