"Ryan Geiger: Secret Garden" The otherworldly aviary of Ryan Geiger's imagination is rendered in "Secret Garden," an impressive exhibit currently on view at Rudolph Projects/ArtScan Gallery. These surreal paintings find Geiger working in a brilliantly efficient mode and honing his considerable skill. Recurring motifs (birds and trees excluded) include five-pointed stars, clouds and floating, conical rock formations. The environments evoke the background landscapes in Warner Bros. cartoons — zany and exaggerated. Text sometimes augments the imagery as a self-referential comment on a theme. Memory Is Long employs curved lines and an arrow to mark the flight paths of birds exiting an ordinary birdhouse hanging from a tree branch. In a Magritte-inspired touch, the tree trunk's bark has been exposed to reveal a red-brick core. Empty speech balloons sometimes appear next to birds, as in Oracle, a painting influenced by Greek myth. Of course, bird speech is unprintable, but Geiger solves that issue by manipulating the balloon somehow, painting it as if it were dripping or imbued with a foul substance, communicating an emotional state. And don't miss Geiger's foray into sculpture, a huge cardinal named Earnest, with whom you may have your photo taken in various scenes of Hitchcock-inspired mayhem. Through December 29. 1836 Richmond, 713-807-1836. — TS

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