Idiot Savant

Brad Tucker retains a quirky, casual approach as he tinkers with his art

Elsewhere Around Town

At Gallery Sonja Roesch, Robbie Austin has his own odd little objects on the wall. In contrast to his earlier sculptures, in which chunks of two-by-fours were painted and attached directly to the wall, his new works are sanded down into engagingly awkward and stumpy little forms. Some protrude from the walls like malformed bovine horns. Others feel like the tree equivalent of a clubfoot. Mick Johnson is also in the three-person show with some nice paintings with gloopy, solid colors of paint poured over low-relief linear elements. The irregular areas of paint play well off the underlying physical geometry. Melanie Crader is covering canvases with the girly/drag queen materials of glitter and pearls to create sparkly glamorous surfaces, but the middle-of-the-road scale is still problematic. They need to be either far more delicate and tiny or much more expansive -- something that could fill your whole field of vision with sparkle.

At Lawndale Art Center, in the Micro Gallery, Jahjehan Bath Ives's "Unspoken" presents a moving visual and textual journal recording her brother's untimely death. Making art from this kind of highly personal, emotionally loaded story is tough to pull off, but Ives strikes the right tone and manages it beautifully. Also working in a familial vein, Heather Schweikhardt's "Familial Landscapes" crop and rephotograph worn color snapshots to make images with a haunting visual texture that feel like fragments of memory. Upstairs, wallowing thoroughly in camp, Tabatha Tucker and Matthew Barolo's "Romance Project" presents videos of the two, costumed and re-creating the covers of romance novels. The video tableaux are so much more effective than still photographs because you see the pair wavering slightly as they struggle to maintain their contorted embraces. For "Hayburner," in the main gallery, Allison Wiese has sewn dozens of red shop rags into a massive blue-collar minimalist grid hung from the side wall. It's a nice piece, but it needs something else/more going on in the room than the abundance of rectilinear hay bales. Is this barnyard minimalism?

“Long Distance Lovers”
Through June 14 at Inman Gallery, 214 Travis, 713-222-0844.

Through June 14 at Gallery Sonja Roesch, 2309 Caroline, 713-659-5424.

“Unspoken,” “Familial Landscapes” and “Romance Project”
Through June 21 at Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main, 713-528-5858

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