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Art Capsule Reviews

A picture of our opinions on local exhibitions

".....all of the above" Judy Pfaff is considered a pioneer of installation art, and she's got the MacArthur Fellowship to prove it. Her latest offering is awash in fluorescent oranges, blues, yellows, greens and purples, giving the space a decided Tron feel, sans digitized crotch rockets and wacky helmets. White discs are piled on the floor and hung from the ceiling, overlapping each other in a lopsided fashion, looking like ready-to-topple stacks of pocket change. In the center of the room, round rods of white steel spin around in off-kilter funnels. DayGlo strings span the space, running next to each other in grids, their colors activated by dangling ultraviolet lights. The walls have been marked with dyed string, creating sloppy grids to complement those crisscrossing the open space. But the environment isn't all circles and straight lines. Set up in juxtaposition to those elements are dangling vines, gathered from the artist's upstate New York estate and dyed black, gnarled around the space and often kept in place by strings attached to weights. Bright colors, strict lines, gnarled vines -- ".....all of the above" is definitely worth a look. Through April 1 at Rice University Art Gallery, 6100 Main, 713-348-6069.

DiverseWorks: J Hill's Sound Installations You can hear the Sonny Liston/Muhammad Ali fight in the bathroom at DiverseWorks. It's part of an ongoing series of sound installations by artist J Hill in the art space's two public bathrooms. Hill dotted the walls and ceiling of the bathroom with speakers, transforming the toilet environment. For the first bathroom, Hill recorded himself at home watching the classic fight. In the background are domestic noises such as water running in the kitchen sink. You could hog the bathroom and listen to the whole match. The second bathroom includes sounds such as a teakettle boiling, birds chirping and, possibly, morning cartoons in the background. Hill is creating a kind of cozy intimacy not generally associated with public toilets as he lets bathroom patrons eavesdrop on his life. His sound installations run through May. 1117 East Freeway, 713-223-8346.

tape10Rebecca Ward's got a way with duct tape and a gift for measuring. She's put both those skills to good use in her installation, tape10. To set the stage for her work, Ward turned Lawndale Art Center's third floor gallery into a pristine white box by covering the floor with white vinyl. The ceiling is where everything happens. Ward used duct tape in shades of blue and green to create precise patterns of stripes on the ceiling. Loops of duct tape hang down from the stripes, starting small and getting bigger until they almost touch the ground. The tape casts linear shadows on the walls and becomes a dynamic sculptural presence in the room. Ward has taken a ubiquitous and prosaic material and made it fabulous — except it still has that duct tape smell. You'd never guess she just got her B.A. in Studio Art from the University of Texas in 2006; tape10 looks like the product of a far more seasoned artist. Through April 14. 4912 Main, 713-528-5858.

 
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