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Every artwork on this page is copyright 2008 by the originating artist. No reproduction or approximation of these works
may be created in any medium for any commercial or nonprofit use without specific written permission from the artist.

Rosemary Meza + Steve Cruz
in 1997

Story + Photographs by J R Compton

Winter Solstice morning's mail brought the best Christmas card I got this year. I laughed out loud when I saw Rosemary Meza and Steve Cruz' hand-colored prints.

I was joyed to have an original by the artist duo, and the rendering of the Young Santa as a horny wrestler is a certifiable hoot. Outside the card, a simple, hand-written "Merry Christmas from Rosemary y Steve" suffices. Inside are a drawing by each.

©1997 Steve Cruz

The Card:

A nearly nude "Young Santa" flexes his muscles in green, form-revealing briefs, matching boots and a dark brown beard.

This Santa's a classic Mexican wrestler, reminding of Steve's best piece upstairs at 500X Gallery. I didn't much like his large paintings just hung there on the wall. They lacked the simple precision and careful color complements of his previous work and seemed out of place in this energetic installation.

But his magnificent wall of smallish, simple — almost cartoonish, postcardly wrestler characters fit perfectly into the high-spirited oeuvre of the joint exhibition, balancing Rosemary's long wall of joyous, bigger-than-life dancing figures, opposite.

Rosemary's female figure on the Christmas card is relatively stationary — though sufficiently lurid and vibrant — compared with her bizarre dancers — colorful, cavorting cutouts, tied sketchily to the gallery walls with monochromatic drawings.

The show:

Dynamic among scribly lines, merging colors and amazing — some say shocking — imagery, the couple's installation was the best use of 500X's spacious upstairs gallery in about a decade.

The most shocking element — among all the flailing nudes, bulging, cruicified pink-polka-dotted underwear-clad and/or naked, titty-bouncing women and knife-orificed forms — was the Hispanic artist-staple Our Lady of Guadalupe, standing sanctilly on a pile of penises. Their notoriety was what had brought me to the show in the first place.

Several artist/friends had insisted I see this jolting show. And I was more than pleased to visit, since I'd never fully appreciated Meza's work. But I wasn't shocked — in this vigorous display of often disturbing but superbly and rhythmicly rendered imagery, a pile of severed penises seemed to fit right in.

All images on this page are Copyright 1997 by Rosemary Meza. Images used here with her permission. No reproduction in any medium without written permission by Rosemary Meza.


Rosemary Meza - En Su Cuerpo Nacio Mi Dolor (detail)


Rosemary Meza - She-Chupacabra (cutout mounted on wall)


Rosemary Meza - Dooty Bopper and Dancing Queen
(cutout and drawing on wall)


Rosemary Meza - Yo Me Muero Por Tu Vida


Rosemary Meza - Quiero Que Me Matas Por Un Beso
(detail to show colors and textures)


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