Artwork by Diana Markessinis
Artwork by Diana Markessinis

This Week in a Whiskey? Don't Mind If I Do!

Art has a new home in downtown Santa Ana—well, actually, it's Koo's founder Dennis Lluy's home, but art can use it as long as it stays out of the underwear drawer, at least until Lluy finishes prepping his ambitious ScentWalk 2K6 project. And so far, art is really a great roommate: "The Clearing," a duo show by Cal State Fullerton grad students Diana Markessinis and Edwin Maguire, debuted in Lluy's newly unofficial gallery space at the beginning of the month, and it's working out so naturally that Lluy has several future shows waiting at the door. Gallery space adjacent to the Santa Ana Artists' Village—Lluy's wide-open loft is just east of the Santora/Memphis drag—isn't in a shortage, but it is at a premium, says Markessinis, who laughs with Maguire about having to hide the beer and the futon for impromptu student-studio shows of her work. But Lluy's loft space—pressed into service after a chance meeting with the artists at Memphis—lends itself remarkably well to gallery duty, with bright, flattering light, plenty of wide white space and one of the best docents in town (A whiskey? Don't mind if I do!).

Markessinis' installations—scavenged plumbing pipes, reconfigured to suggest the root systems of plants as a meditation on how technology connects to human life—stretch almost to the ceiling in Lluy's now-bare living room, while Maguire's spooky portraiture and nature shots—including one that blips a Union 76 ball into an otherwise primeval skyline—wind along the entry stairs. It's a make-it-work idea that's already got successful precedent in OC: the Office in Huntington Beach knocked out just such a nontraditional niche for itself, and it didn't even have the benefit of location Lluy's loft enjoys, just a wine-wobbly walk from the Grand Central and Santora complexes. The idea is to make an art-show afterparty, says Lluy, and traffic after the opening of Sandow Birk's "Divine Comedy" was encouraging. "In fact," says Lluy, "Sandow was probably the last person to leave."

"The Clearing" closing reception at Dennis Lluy's loft, 208 Spurgeon St., Santa Ana. Fri., 8-10 p.m. Free.


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