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Jene Highstein embraces dead trees in his work; Melissa Thorne has forsaken them

With such a laborious process, you can't blame Thorne for making her life a little easier by working on a more durable surface than her tissue-thin vellum. But something is lost in the translation. Up close, the subtleties of color application give the works their geometric yet handmade appeal. But from a distance, the surfaces feel flat and deadened, like digitizations. Their appeal isn't wholly negated, but comparing them with an earlier work on vellum hanging in the back gallery makes you miss the quality of light playing through the ink stains on the translucent surfaces. There must be a better solution -- frosted Plexiglas or something -- that could offer a compromise between practicality and visual effect.

Jene Highstein's Open Coliseum is so large it requires two sheets of maximum-width paper.
Texas Gallery
Jene Highstein's Open Coliseum is so large it requires two sheets of maximum-width paper.
Jene Highstein's Open Coliseum is so large it requires two sheets of maximum-width paper.
Texas Gallery
Jene Highstein's Open Coliseum is so large it requires two sheets of maximum-width paper.

Details

"Jene Highstein: Rooms & Interconnected Rooms"
Through June 29 at Texas Gallery, 2012 Peden, 713-524-1593.

"Melissa Thorne: New Paintings"
Through June 30 at Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery, 4520 Blossom, 713-863-7097.

These two shows remind us just how many factors affect the making of art -- the creator constantly negotiating between visual and conceptual and material choices. Compromises -- and creative solutions -- go with the territory.

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