A Mixed Casket

Danny Yahav-Brown explores funerals, lifelines and the words "I love you"

Through February 28 at Inman Gallery, 214 Travis, 713-222-0844.

Urban Planning

In Luis Mallo's large color photographs, the patterns and surfaces of chain-link fences and graffiti-covered, rusted sheets of metal become curtains that reveal and conceal urban vistas. In his exhibition "In Camera" at Sicardi Gallery, Mallo displays his mastery of found compositions, isolating compelling forms in industrial urban environments. The compositions strike you first, then you realize what they're really portraying. In one work, he hones in on vertical clusters of tree trunks, tightly sandwiching them between the horizontal sheen of corrugated metal and the diamond patterns of a chain-link fence. A metal panel -- all flaking paint and marker scrawls -- dominates another photograph; a rusted triangular hole in its surface provides a glimpse of the rounded form of a water tower in the distance, and below it, a rectangular gap reveals the receding vertical lines of a railroad yard. Mallo bends the unattractively industrial to his will.

Art within art: Jim Richard's Dark Landing 
depicts flailing abstract sculptures.
Courtesy of Inman Gallery
Art within art: Jim Richard's Dark Landing depicts flailing abstract sculptures.

Through February 7 at Sicardi Gallery, 2246 Richmond, 713-529-1313.

Sloughing Off

In the main gallery at Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery, Michael Toenges is showing tiny paintings that look like they've seceded from some monumentally larger impasto work. Thick, three-dimensional smears of paint extend beyond the edges of their panels and feel like a floating collection of brush strokes. And in the entry gallery, you can see Chris Akin's drawings, which wittily continue the fine multitasking tradition of artists making art at their day jobs. Akin is a guard at the Menil Collection; to make his work, he discreetly sketches in between telling people not to touch stuff. He folds sheets of paper into eighths and makes his crisp line drawings in each section separately, giving them a kind of "exquisite corpse" aspect, as if he were playing the surrealist game with himself. You can see the environmental influence of the Menil in images derived from the patterns of its dark wood floors and the shapes of its modern artworks.

Through February 13 at Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery, 4520 Blossom Street, 713-863-7097.

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