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Yumiko Kayukawa at the Shooting Gallery 

Wolves and tigers and otaku sex objects, oh my!

Wednesday, Aug 1 2007
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Japanese-born artist Yumiko Kayukawa's acrylic paintings manage to combine the sensibilities of fashion plate, manga, "floating world" ukiyo-e, bondage, and cosplay — and still remain graphically lucid. Her stung-lipped girls float gracefully through space, peppily dressed, pestered, and/or serviced by animals such as polar bears, wolves, tigers, or bunnies. Although seductive, these women stop short of being simple otaku sex objects. They stare out at the viewer a little accusingly, and their relationships to the animals or other women in the frame is ambiguous (is that polar bear helping that bandaged girl, or did he just maul her?). Stylistically, the work recalls Nagel, whose art-deco-esque women showed up everywhere in the '80s, even on Duran Duran's two Rio album covers. Kayukawa, in fact, has an avowed love of rock music, going so far as to say that she'd rather have her paintings hang next to rock-star pinups than on museum walls. Fortunately for us, the galleries are still providing wall space.

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Traci Vogel

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