I didn't intend to identify a trend this month, but I suddenly came upon some young artists who seem to be responding to the same muse. Are they reflections of a Wii, woot, and world of "sexting" universe? I'm not sure, but there is something both infantile and sophisticated in these works, along with a deep sense of melancholy.

Brendan Danielsson is relatively young. He grew up and was educated in the southern United States, which brings to mind a particular Gothic aesthetic, perhaps unfairly. His work also reminds me of the Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero. Yes he could use some subtlety, which I think will occur given time. But there is clearly a talent here, and a passion. He is worth watching.

A similar comment could be made about a young Los Angeles artist who calls herself Mia. Mia works on acrylic and paper, although there is clearly an effect of cut-and-paste in her work. I am getting the feeling that there is a young aesthetic developing, perhaps from graphic novels, perhaps from Manga, certainly related to fairy tales, and sprinkled with a bit of Hollywood magic. Is it simply youthful exuberance, yearning for an alternate existence, an attempt to tiptoe between death and dream worlds? It is too soon to tell, but Michelle Araujo follows a similar path to that of Danielsson. Some of this work comes close to T-shirt art, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. There are T-shirts that I find more intriguing than some museum exhibits.

Mark Ryden received his B.F.A. degree in 1987 from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. With titles like "Wondetoonel" and "Bunnies and Bees", his work clearly fits into the fantasy fetish world we are examining. And, like so many of these artists, Ryden seems to focus particularly on doll-like young women, although he sometimes combines them with historical and religious figures.

Childhood fantasies with a twist of the grotesque also characterize the work of Shag, although with a lighter touch and more subtle aesthetic. Born Josh Agle in 1962, the nickname is a combination of his first and last names.

A world of phantasmagoria in sight and sound fills the works of Simmons and Burke. There is a lush quality to both the images and the sounds by these two artists, reminding me of the French word "rempli",as in filled to the brim.

Like Shag, Kukula shows at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, California. Born in a small town near Tel Aviv, Kukula's doll-like figures and surrealist Pop yearnings place her in the same school as the artists above.

There is an immediate ease of entrance into all of these artists' works, a flirtatious come-hither surface quality that makes them seem almost too "pretty". Is that a prejudice? Does art have to be difficult? Collectors can certainly buy these pieces without a lot of deep soul-searching, knowing that they will immediately please the eye. And yet there are deeper levels of meaning operating at the same time. You might look at "The Equivocal Woman" by Max Ernst for a comparison with the Surrealist ethic, and the dreamlike figures of Giorgio de Chirico.I am reminded of my initial response to Jeff Koons' work, like his out-sized silver bunnies and inflatable poodles: I felt there was something going on there, but I wasn't quite sure what it was. Words like engaging come to mind, but that alone wouldn't explain his appeal. I'd love to hear comments from some of you about how you respond to these works.

c.Corinne Whitaker 2009