A Beat of the Heart, A flick of the Tongue, above, features the sort of high Victorian beauty who appeared as a kind of popular pin-up girl in places ranging from Storyville bordellos to the frontier saloons of the gold rush, sometimes juxtaposed with the American eagle as seductive symbols of Manifest Destiny. But beauty and strength were often elusive in the mad, death-defying, scramble to settle the old West, and here Pajon's beauty, flanked by a turkey buzzard and snakes, sports the tattoos of a circus or side show performer. Today deadly crossings of barren desert wastes are still undertaken, but the new pioneers are mainly undocumented migrants fleeing dystopian homelands ruled by armed gangs and drug cartels. In Hands Remember What the Heart Forgets, top, the so-called "Hand of Power"--that near-universal mojo symbol for the sudden quantum, death defying leap of faith or luck--appears pierced with a dagger and with flames flaring from its fingernails. Emerging from a serpent infested flower labeled "Love," and flanked by horseshoes, crescent moons, spiders and songbirds, it is a reminder that despite all the technology with which we now surround ourselves, life and love are are still mysterious, and destiny remains a roll of the dice. ~Bookhardt
Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, 400A Julia St., 522-5471.