Upon encountering the uninhibitedly zany work of self-taught artist Matt Lamb, one usually walks away feeling as if doused by an invigorating bucket of joy and swept up into his vision of a childlike utopia.  His jubilantly naive paintings spill over with imaginary creatures, remarkably complex surfaces, and riots of luscious colors, and exude a feeling of whimsical fantasy.  They may remind Lamb how lucky he is to have escaped death's door:  The paradoxical multimillionaire Outsider, who calls himself "a pilgrim in an alien world," is a former funeral home magnate who was misdiagnosed with a fatal illness before selling his business and pursuing a lifelong dream of becoming a painter.

    Author Richard Speer will sign copies of Matt Lamb:  The Art of Success tonight at 8:00 at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, coinciding with an exhibit at ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries, 169 Madeira Ave., Coral Gables.  Call 305-444-4493.

-- Carlos Suarez De Jesus