On The Wall: On The Couch

Sofa, King, Cool, Travis Collinson's memorably peculiar acrylic painting, really doesn't belong in the Huntington Beach Art Center's baseball-themed art show, "2332." But then again, an argument could be made that Collinson's hapless characters would be misfits pretty much anywhere.

In a dimly-lit apartment that looks like it smells of microwave popcorn and cat pee, a sickly man reclines on a sofa, seemingly too depressed to move. In the foreground, his birdlike lady friend sits with her hands in her lap, lost in her own heavy thoughts. Whatever they were talking about, the discussion has hit a long, unhappy lull. Through the sliding glass door behind them, we look out on a world without promise, just another cheap apartment beneath a dishwater sky. The scene is so grim it's kind of hilarious; even the poor plant on the table looks like it's aching for better days, long past.

It's hard to guess if Collinson paints people who look like Steve Buscemi's family reunion by choice, or because he's still figuring out how to render faces. His people are crooked, pop-eyed and unlovely, but you peer through this window into their lonesome little world, and you can't help but feel for them. Call this one a home run.

"2332" @ The Huntington Beach Art Center 538 Main St., Huntington Beach (714) 374-1650. Through December 21.

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