PlaydateMartkills 5 - 31 Dec 2020Like a lifetime member of Peter Pan’s boy-band of truants and feckless youths cavorting in Neverland, Gemart Ortega, with his young son in tow, is an irrepressible kid, with a grin that’s easy to surface, accompanied by a shyness that befits a bashful boy.
That is perhaps why Gemart’s works (or Martkills, as he is known in the art world) are so easily translatable to a landscape that children would adore: kid pop with candy and confetti. There is a winsome appeal to Gemart’s characters, even if they be super heroes, as he bestows his characters with chubby, tubby bods, and cheeks that just beg to be pinched. Their eyes are tiny, almost certainly heavy with sleep.
Sprinkle some furry pups, picnic baskets, and even tiny tot costumes, very liberally onto his canvasses and complementing his characters, and Martkills is able to transport the viewers to lullaby-land.
Not to say Martkills doesn’t have his dark side. For other shows, Martkills has whipped out bug-eyed imps with fangs and sculptures that hug the terror genre very closely. Spaceships with aliens are frequent motifs, as well as gargoyles, beasts and all sorts of endearingly fierce creatures that should be displayed at horror museums.
For this show, however, Martkills veers away from macabre, and even the current horrors of covid, and as a way of allowing escape, perhaps even for his own son, he opens up a world of balloons, stuffed animals and plastique toys. The playground is open, the Dino and clown costumes are ready for tot-fittings. It is a world of innocence, of soap bubbles and laughter, of wonder and amazement. The kids run free, and nightmares are forgotten.
This is Martkill’s Crib, and we are welcome to rock in it. For isn’t it that he whose hands rock the cradle, rules the world? And this world, this soothing amusement park, this kindergarten for art lovers, Martkills surely rules.