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Mike Capp’s monsters at Mineral, mighty nice

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on March 24, 2010 at 10:04 am with No Comments »
March 24, 2010 10:04 am


Mike Capp monster art. Image courtesy Lisa Kinoshita.

Sorry for the Seussian alliteration in the title, but it’s hard to resist getting back to childhood when you step into Mineral these days. The tiny gallery/art jewelry space on Puyallup Avenue is filled with monsters – the friendly kind, that is. Mike Capp‘s show “I wonder what that’s about?” has been up for a few weeks now and with a vibe that mixes painterly care with childlike humor it’s definitely worth a long look.

Capp’s an Everett painter with an eclectic background –  including a stretch as a stand-up comic – but a lot of his art takes inspiration from his two kids, Tanner and Kyla. Taking their typical kid drawings of monsters, robots and aliens, Capp layers them up from a gel base into an almost three-dimensional texture, setting them against a background of Pollockian splatters, New Agey neons or black puddles of ink. The result? Art that makes you smile.

“Peach, Banana, Peach, Duck” (named goofily like some kid’s circle game) sets fruit and rubber ducks in a row on an upside-down KISS shirt (Capp’s a fan from way back.) The electric yellow in the band’s lettering is echoed in the shiny lime and orange of the objects, and everything has a fuzzy touchability from Capp’s beautifully tiny raised brushstrokes. It’s like a still life made out of velour.

In his monster art the geometric, jagged-toothed aliens grin irresistably, mingling in their bizarre world like old friends at a party. “Flower House” adds real photos of Capp’s kids, eyes-shut-smiling, in a ’60s dream-collage of cheery-faced skulls and flower-headed monsters.

Capp’s sly humor gets more adult in his three pop culture acrylic minatures. In dark, shadowed colors there’s a sad Johnny Cash as Max (from “Where the Wild Things Are”), a skull-toothy Joker/Mad Hatter, and an evil-eyed Ronald McDonald peeping over a wall.

The only disappointing piece is “Improvisation,” completely out of Capp’s other style in its generic pop-psychology-surreality. A melange of torsos and animals in New Age-electric hues inhabit a Dali-esque landscape that’s far less inventive than Capp’s wacky, kid-designed monster world.

“I wonder what that’s about?” by Mike Capp is up at Mineral through April 10. Noon-5 p.m. Tue/Thur/Sat. or by appointment. 301 Puyallup Ave. Ste. A, Tacoma. 253-250-7745, www.lisakinoshita.com

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