There's that tired old sitcom joke, usually tossed off by the wacky, promiscuous neighbor (think Larry from Three's Company), about how there's Miss Right, and then there's Miss Right Now. Well, this week, the local art scene features a couple of exhibits that we would call the Miss Right Now sisters. Neither one is exactly a stunning, life-changing experience—you don't want to move in with either show, get a joint checking account and start planning for the pitter-patter of little art shows around the house. But if you're looking for something quick and lots of fun—a weekend fling, let's say—then these are the shows for you. They're young and maybe not super-smart, but they sure are easy on the eyes.
Max King Cap's show at @Space (try saying that three times fast) is . . . well, it's basically lots of squiggles on the wall. Honestly, that's pretty much it, but the artist really goes crazy with the squiggles, literally filling up the place with the things. Sometimes they look like swatches of wallpaper that some naughty kid scribbled on with a marker; sometimes they look like jellyfish or other representational objects. What's it all mean? Well, you could go digging for answers, but let's not fool ourselves. It's squiggling done well, colorful and zesty squiggling, squiggling that's unashamed to be squiggling. Love and respect the squiggling for what it is, for such squiggling doesn't come along every day. And when the day comes that they take this show down, you can say, "By God, now that was some squiggling!"
The Lab anti-mall in Costa Mesa is one of those places that the cool kids pretend to hate, even though they just happen to find themselves there, like, every weekend. Back in the day, the grunge kids pretended to hate the place, and then they would run off to shop at the Tower Records there; today, the emo kids pretend to hate the place, and then they sneak off to get their bed-heads made at the Crew Salon. Well, life is so much better without all of that sneaking and pretending, so right here, right now, the Weekly is officially declaring the Lab to be Cool, Urban Outfitters or not. For proof of said coolness, just look at the ARTery Gallery, a collection of shipping containers that have housed some very interesting shows. Shipping containers! And even if you don't like the art shows, you can always go over to the Gypsy Den afterward and enjoy a scone.
Fortunately, with "Local Anesthesia: An Exhibition of Emerging Artists," we're fairly confident you'll like the art. The show features 10 young artists, and they're an eclectic lot. Jason Woodside does these things that sort of look like the murals you'd see on the bathroom wall of a punk club at 2 in the morning, when you're drunk and your senses are jangly and you're not really in the mood for all those bright colors and the big, cartoon eyeballs staring at you when you're trying to pee. But by daylight, when you're sober, they're much more fun. Randy Laybourne is an alternative cartoonist on the side, and his work looks like random panels from a small-press comic book about little birdies and bulls and monsters. It's really cute stuff, but if he spent longer than an hour on each piece, from conception to execution, we'd be quite surprised. Jared Millar contributes some very striking prints, and Heather Wright's sad, wispy, teenage-girly paintings will speak to anybody who spent the better part of his or her adolescence alone in a room, wondering why people have to be so darn mean.
Enjoy this art without guilt. You don't have to make these shows breakfast in the morning, or call them at work the next day just to say hi. No, just have a good time and move on. Maybe next weekend, you'll find the art you'll want to marry. You're spending this weekend with a prime pair of Miss Right Nows, and that, friend, is a weekend well-spent.
Max King Cap at @Space Gallery, 2202 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 835-3730. Open Wed.-Thurs. & Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Through Feb. 6 Free.; "Local Anesthesia: An Exhibition of Emerging Artists" at the ARTery Gallery at the Lab Anti-Mall, 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 966-6660. Open Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Through Feb. 3. Free.