Anna's picks

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November 29, 2004 // UPDATED 4:46 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

Charles Thysell's 'Secret Garden'

Artist Charles Thysell ushers you into his "Secret Garden" filled with abstract expressionist plant life in his graphite drawings on paper. Thysell captures the calming influence of nature with some weeds and blooms levitating in midair while others expand or contract under Dr. Who-ish standards (big plants get small, tiny plants become huge).

This doesn't look like real-life foliage.

Instead, these are their shadows rendered flatly as they're slumbering or just waking up. In tea-colored shades and sweeping strokes Thysell seems to pay homage to an old or lost patch. His fading images recall memories of wispy flowers and hearty vegetables (like my grandmother's garden). Thysell himself might come around the corner any moment to gently admit guests, whispering, "Come on in -- it's enchanted."

Reception: Friday, Dec. 3, 5-8 p.m., Exhibit: Thru Dec. 3-30, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Free. 332-2386.

'The Return of Space Monkey'

When gravity subsides, painter Dalek's (or James Marshall) space monkeys still boast precious "Minnesota Nice" smiles. Their paranoid stares and buckteeth are practically endearing. Even when they get shot in the head or hit by a sledgehammer, these accident-prone squirts are always good sports.

But beyond the polite, if battered exterior, these cartoon aliens represent an apathetic demographic. Inspired by street art, graffiti and televisual culture, artist Dalek knowingly or not, depicts a culture overly drugged up on prescriptions and mass media imagery.

These creatures have lost their reflexes. They're immune to violence and don't know how to show horror -- therefore missing an essential component of what makes us human.

Reception: Saturday, Dec. 4, 7-10 p.m., Exhibit: Tuesday-Saturday, Dec. 4-23, 4-8 p.m., Ox-Op Gallery, 1111 Washington Ave. S., Free. 259-0085.