The O.C. Weekly

O.C. WEEKLY

VOL 9 NO 15 DEC 19 – 25 2003

Written by REBECCA SCHOENKOPF

And welcome to ArtMartyr, even if the Weekly’s Chris Ziegler did get there first. The small co-op has a terrific space with graffiti-mural interiors and pretty good DIY feng shui. Its website, naturally, is preposterously fine.

ArtMartyr has been around since spring, and its fourth show—of a Redondo artist named John Gill—is a fine one. It’s very young work: large tiles in pleasing bright tones are painted with simple silhouettes and vaguely rebellious mottoes. There’s Animal, and Ego, and Public Enemy decorated with a simplified man-bull. The Virgin of Guadalupe lurks in the upper corner of works that borrow from R. Crumb and Llyn Foulkes. Osama, George W., Gorby and Hitler share a canvas. Some of Gill’s works have the feeling of the Madeline children’s books—sweetness and button noses—while most others have a vague Gen Y distrust of politics mixed with affection for the dopier bits of pop culture and unrelenting reverence for Picasso and The Absinthe Drinker.

By young I don’t mean stupid, I mean young. Gill is still sorting through a thousand influences and appreciations. His lines are sure (while also naive), and his sense of color and space is even better.

ArtMartyr holds co-op meetings the first Saturday of the month. Go forth and DIY.

"Beyond Exile" at Arden 2 Project Gallery, 350 E. 17th St., Ste. 112, Costa Mesa, (949) 548-0097. Through Jan. 31. Open by appointment; John Gill at ArtMartyr, 1310 Logan Ave., Ste. H, Costa Mesa, (714) 434-0664. Through Jan. 28. Open Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., by appointment.