Girls Growing

So much of the messy transition from girl to woman in our society is dominated by images, and it's not just skeletal magazine models. You can be fat and sexy—as long as you drop a fortune at Victoria's Secret. The images you see every day on MSN or Lifetime reinforce the standards to which we hold adolescent women: You have to be smart, happy, on the right career track with a nice boyfriend, and, oh yeah, it doesn't hurt to be drop-dead gorgeous, too. Images of a much different sort are central to "Girls Growing," a group show staged by independent curator Jess Van Nostrand. Not pedantic in the least, this subtle show explores the realities girls have to look forward to. Several Dutch artists get a Seattle debut, including painters Anya Janssen and Barbara Wijnveld. Photographer Margi Geerlinks' work has shown at the Henry. Janssen's painting of teenage twins, Double Back (pictured), expresses so much: sullenness, an unease at being watched, and an uncanny, ready-made conformity. Meanwhile, Geerlinks' modified photos offer a disturbing vision of female bodies and minds. In one, a man stitches a female torso at a sewing machine, while another shows a young girl modeling an adult breast. (Screwed-up body image starts so damn early!) Wijnveld's portraits of women drip with anxiety, while artist Jenny Zwick's staged tableau offers a parable of girls exploring the dark basement of the soul. And Judy Blotnick's abstract portrait of depression is a poignant image that's more real than anything you'll ever see on Oxygen. SOIL, 112 Third Ave. S., 206-264-8061. Noon-5 p.m. Thurs.-Sun. Ends Wed. Aug. 31.

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