Ladies’ night

Apparently, new art galleries, like those proverbial great minds, think alike. For the inaugural Second Saturday of 2005, Chamber Gallery debuted Sugar and Spikes, a ladies’ art and fashion show. Just hours later, Artisan Gallery opened New Creations: An Expression of Female Beauty, another group show by female artists. Luckily, there is an ample supply of talented women in Sacramento, and both shows were evidence of that fact.

Unfortunately, by the time this reporter arrived at the Chamber Gallery (at a seemingly reasonable 5:30 p.m.) the fashion show was over. Fortunately, this afforded an easy view of the visual art adorning the walls—which varied considerably by artist. The show opened with Christy Savage’s dramatic painting of a Puritan-era witch burning but moved on to her humorous prints of bubble-breasted cartoon girlies. Lori Rase Hall’s sweetly psychedelic watercolor girls peered out of the frames at passersby, while Kerry Beary’s design-conscious ladies lounged on fashionable modern furniture. Kiny McCarrick’s wax-on-Plexiglas worlds writhed with uterine abstracts and wild sex scenes. Here and there, mannequins displayed beribboned corsets by Isabella Costumiere.

In the middle of it all, gallery owner Rachel Odell entertained patrons with the story of a narrowly averted disaster. It seemed the designer for that afternoon’s fashion show had to cancel unexpectedly. Odell and her husband, Jami, spent Friday night visiting boutiques, searching for a replacement. With less than 24 hours before the show, they were turned down repeatedly. Then they found Le Fun. Store owner Tyrus Wilson introduced them to up-and-coming designer Matthew Camp, who selected the pieces for the show overnight. Models showed them to a packed gallery the next afternoon, proving that cooperation among Midtown artists is alive and well.

Perhaps in return for her good deed, Wilson’s Le Fun was bursting with patrons before her 8 p.m. event even began. Or maybe this was due to the endearingly vague fliers that papered the town earlier in the week, reading, “New Photos @ Le Fun…2nd Saturday, man. Plus there will be other stuff too.” There were color portraits suspended in the windows of her tiny shop by safety pins and fishing line, but the boutique’s crowded confines made it hard to linger.

So, it was off to Del Paso Boulevard’s Artisan Gallery. In the gallery’s display window, models in shimmering evening gowns by Kathryn Brothers received elaborate hairstyles from Erin O’Hagain. O’Hagain’s towering teased-hair sculptures rivaled the gowns for attention. Finished models roamed the gallery as living works of art among the wall-hung offerings. (Highlights of the latter included painted handbags by Olivia Coelho and sharp digital prints by Kristin Cofer.) One poor model, whose hair took more than two hours to style, was continually pinned to the floor as gallery patrons unknowingly stood on the long train of her dress. No one said beauty was easy, but last Saturday, it was out in abundance.