October at the AVA Gallery features "cross," a mixed-media exhibit, with paintings by Ramey Holsman and Kate Cooper and photos by Tracie Schillo. The exhibit offers viewers a glimpse inside a world little known to most.

The artists' reception is from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11. The artwork will be on display through Nov. 6.

The word "cross" has many meanings - hybrid, contrary, the mark of one who cannot write - cross-eye, crossbreed, cross to bear, crossbones, cross-examine and cross-dress. It is apparent, upon viewing Holsman and Cooper's new works, which direction the show, leans. The two present a range of paintings and mixed media creations exploring the realm of cross-dressing and fusing gender.

Holsman exhibits a range of portraits of famous women from the last century who dressed or lived as men: Hanna Gluckstein, Big Mama Thornton, Claude Cahun and Billy Tipton. In addition, she presents a selection of brightly painted boxes, each housing a doll, that, when pushed, exclaim, "Hi, I'm manly." "Ramon's Womb," a 36"x43"x5" mixed media painting, explores her experience of having a hysterectomy in 2002.

Cooper presents three series of paintings. The first are a series of self portraits exploring her image and persona as male. The second set of portraits represent the feelings, emotions and conflicts that arose within her as she explored these issues. Finally, Cooper presents a range of smaller illustrations that she calls "A Multitude of possibilities ..." These are playful pieces which show the full range of guises possible in a cross-dressing, gender crossing arena.

Photographer Schillo exhibits a two-dimensional documentary of a drag party in action - featuring a handful of friends cutting loose one evening in Holsman and Cooper's studio.


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