Downtown Art

Share this:
April 12, 2004 // UPDATED 1:12 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

'Rated XX (No Y Chromosomes)'

The women of "Rated XX (No Y Chromosomes)" are bad-asses who're also pretty in pink. Skilled at video games (some design them), they're not afraid of weapons or their emotions. They paint soft, fuzzy robots and freaks in carnival colors, but speak in streetwise vernacular.

Undeniably adorable and diabolical at the same time, these artists' imagery has appeared in the form of comic books, toys, magazines, books, CD covers, cartoons, murals, movies, music videos and TV shows.

Despite tough exteriors, their images exude a sympathetic pathos -- from frosty lands of plump, sad-eyed caricatures to rooms full of agitated slender figures.

The curator (usually referred to as the "Princess of Darkness") is "Bust" fashion

editor/Boss Hog punk musician/photograph-

er/mother Cristina Martinez. She met Ox-Op gallery owner Tom Hazelmeyer years ago when he promoted her first album (under his then-record label). The two often talked about his baby, the Ox-Op gallery, so when Hazelmeyer approached her about coordinating an exhibit, Martinez was prepared.

As "Bust" fashion editor, Martinez has had many talented female illustrators pass through her door. "The idea of an all-women show was obvious to me," she said. Hence, "Rated XX" exemplifies a wide breadth of underground artists from Japan, France, Russia, Canada and the U.S., ranging from 20-40 years old.

Rosalux Gallery regular Allison Stout studies body language with sensitive portraits of the gestures and expressions of dogs while Angie Mason presents sickish dogs, depressed hearts, wicked deviants and lugubrious angels. Liz McGrath's figures are ordinary circus freaks, elaborately decaying fashion models and apparel victims. Tara McPherson's illustrated people are oddities with glints of profundity and innocence in their eyes. Ox-Op veteran Niagara's women "get even."

Martha Rich hangs her lingerie, lobsters and Loretta Lynn on the line for everyone to see, while Kirsten Easthope is dazzled by the glam of Reno in her lowbrow pinups. Fafi's graffiti femmes are voluptuous and liberal.

Isabel Samaras shows up the Old Masters with painstaking renderings of '70s icons. Kirsten Ulve betrays her graphic designer and ballerina background, with clean, refined lines. Although Yumiko Kayukawa spent years idolizing American pop culture, her works emphasize the graceful forms of her native Japan.

Seanna Hong might be best known for her animated series, "My Life as a Teenage Robot." Vicki Wong's creatures are musical yarn monsters, pixel robots and fresh-faced octopi.

These women, among others, use myths of femininity in order to dispel them.

Thru April 30, Tuesday-Friday 4-8 p.m., Saturday 1-5 p.m., Ox-Op Gallery, 1111 Washington Ave. S. Free. 259-0085.

Call for creek-jumpers

Poets such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow have immortalized Minnehaha Creek, but here's an opportunity for you to solidify your appreciation for this natural stream. The Loft, Edina Art Center and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District have issued a call for artists for their first annual "22 Miles: Celebrating Minnehaha Creek" exhibit and "Great Paint Out."

Creek-related paintings, photographs, sketches, short stories, poems or personal pieces are all welcome. Artists can also apply to be one of handful who will "paint out" -- work on a piece at a designated, public spot along the creek -- July 11, and enjoy an ice cream social afterwards. Loft Literary Center instructors will also read at the event.

Rules: Artists may submit up to three works. Submissions must be titled, including the location or reference depicted. Include a brief artist's statement detailing feelings or observations on the creek, scene, subject or technique. Prizes and awards will be announced.

Submission deadline is May 14, with $8 per entry. Send slides or digital images, poems, manuscripts, (written work may be electronic or hard copy) to the Edina Art Center, 4701 W. 64th St., Edina, MN 55435 or e-mail artcenter@ci.edina.mn.us. For more information, contact Carol Gray at 952-938-4277.

Anna Pratt can be reached at

annapratt@artlover.com.