To Infinity . . . and Beyond!
The Hibbleton takes us on a magical mystery tour
A new gallery has landed among us, dropping from the sky like a gift from the gods and setting down in Fullerton with a satisfying plop. As soon as you hear the title for the Hibbleton Gallery's debut show—"To the Fifth Dimension!"—you know strange and wonderful things are ahead. And then you get there, and it's far more strange and wonderful than you ever dared to hope.
The show features four artists: Jason Jones (no, not the hilariously smarmy Daily Show guy), Chad Eaton (no, not the football player), and the brother-and-sister team of Sarah and Trevor Girard (no, not the . . . well, not anybody else named Sarah and Trevor Girard). All four of them have rather cutesy pseudonyms—Jones goes by Japanland, for instance—but fortunately, they don't seem that attached to the goofy name thing, and we'll be glad to just call them regular-people names. Together, their work has a bit of a Sid-and-Marty-Krofft-clubhouse vibe. It's wonderfully wonky, colorful, childlike, oozing with imagination . . . and there's a weird monster-puppet thing in a bird cage who probably would've been right at home in Witchie-poo's castle.
Jones is the guy who first catches your eye. His sculptures have a cartoonish, toy-like flatness, his paintings a worrying, wriggly dimensionality. He has this whole obsession with cyclopses and octopi, and the tentacles of his crazy creatures come flapping out beyond the frame and across those plain gallery walls, suction cups ready to get a good grip on your wrist to haul you inside the picture with them to play. The hanging-bird-cage-enclosed cyclops monster is one of his, as is a frowny, floppy octopus the color of an aging banana and the texture of your childhood blanket. His colors are acidic—citric and lysergic—and what his work lacks in technical polish, it more than makes up for in sheer, charming goofball-ery. Bring your kids to this show, and they'll either be terrified by Jones' tentacle monsters, or they'll pitch an unholy fit until you buy them a banana octopus to take home. Apparently Jones calls himself Japanland because of the anime and manga-like quality of his work, but perhaps it would be more apt for him to go by ?Totallyfreakyinnerworldland.
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Eaton is an enigmatic young artist who sometimes goes by the name of Timber! (That exclamation point is part of his name—we weren't suddenly overcome with excitement that he calls himself "Timber!") He specializes in paintings of Lincoln-ish gentlemen, tall and sleepy-looking, with stovepipe hats. They listlessly frolic in starkly beautiful, autumnal landscapes, and for no adequately explored reason, they are sometimes conjoined at the beard, The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T-style. Several of Eaton's works are meticulously crafted, and some of his paintings are framed by elaborate, cartoony leaf wreaths that look just like something that would decorate the cottage of the Seven Dwarfs. Oh, and he paints lumberjacks with impressive beards, too. We aren't surprised to learn that Eaton himself sports some pretty impressive ZZ Top-esque facial hair. To judge by his paintings, the guy lives in a very odd, very hairy world. I don't know what the heck he's getting at with all this, but I certainly approve.
I do not approve of the Girard siblings calling themselves Metasaurus—it makes me think of the giant, T-rex robot that ate the Simpsons' car. But I'll forgive them for it because I like their art. They activate their Wonder Twin powers to create embroidered, puffy things that look like the stuff your grandma would make if she ran out of her special pills, as well as pen-and-ink cartoons starring flying Pac-Man ghost raccoons and cheerfully grotesque, Audrey II-like monsters with lots of mouths. And the Girards do seem to have a dinosaur fixation, with a few crisp drawings of dinosaur saints. (Here's hoping the "intelligent design" people don't learn about these things and get even more confused.)
This gallery is off to a great start. One show in, and we've already reached the fifth dimension . . . and counting.
"To the Fifth Dimension!" featuring Japanland (Jason Jones), Timber! (Chad Eaton) and Metasaurus (Sarah and Trevor Girard) at the Hibbleton Art Gallery, 112 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton, (714) 441-2857; www.hibbleton.com. Call for hours. Through Sun.