Off-Ramp

A weekly look at Southern California life covering news, arts and culture, and more. Hosted by John Rabe

Martin Mull paints dreams of suburbia 'you didn't know you had' (photos)

by John Rabe | Off-Ramp

Martin Mull with his new painting, State of the Union, which gives its name to the show at Samuel Freeman Gallery. Marelene Picard

Martin Mull's new collection, Martin Mull State of the Union, is on display at Samuel Freeman Gallery (2639 S. La Cienega Blvd LA 90034) through December 14.

Seth Green, Steve Martin, Bob Odenkirk, Eric Idle, Eugene Levy, Martin Short, David Steinberg ... they all hang around with actor Martin Mull because he can ... paint. But you knew that if you listened to Off-Ramp three years ago when Mull explained that he started painting twenty years before he started acting.

From Off-Ramp's interview with Mull in 2010:

Mull has two art degrees, both earned years before he started painting. He says he chose his brand of photo-realism because the viewer trusts a photo, and will start to go into it. Then, Mull says, "I hope they hear the door slam behind them."  

His new show continues in the same vein. The big paintings and small pencil drawings at first look like slightly hazy photos of suburbia. But look closer and the quintessential Valley dad has a grimacing clown's face, nudes saunter around fetchingly and acrobats appear out of nowhere.

While comedian and director David Steinberg admits that they're "dark," he won't agree with "unsettling."

"Nothing that doesn't move is unsettling," he says. But writer Allen Rucker says they "read like Raymond Carver stories, so sad, so defeated, so despairing."

And actor Bob Odenkirk says they're "stunning, moving, and strange, and it makes you feel like you're watching a dream." "Your dream," I ask? "It's a dream you didn't know you had." 

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