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Capsule Art Reviews: "Heimir Bjorgulfsson: The Classical," "Tony Smith: Drawings"

"Heimir Björgúlfsson: The Classical" Elements from the natural world become characters in the collages of Heimir Björgúlfsson. Björgúlfsson cuts out photos of things like rocks and plants and inserts them into various photographic settings. Giant hunks of mineral ore appear to inch along aerial telephone lines like commandos. Chunks of cactus stand like tourists posing for a photo in front of a stunning mountain backdrop. Two rocks levitate high in the air, each just touching the other as if pausing to kiss while viewing the surf below them. As formally lovely as it is endearingly strange, Björgúlfsson's highly original work inspires a multitude of narratives. Through April 2. CTRL Gallery, 3907 Main, 713-523-2875. — KK

"Tony Smith: Drawings" Tony Smith's geometric steel sculptures are included in pretty much every modern art survey text — his drawings, not so much. And that's a shame, because they're pretty amazing. "Tony Smith: Drawings" is a little gem of a show curated by Bernice Rose, chief curator of the Menil Drawing Institute and Study Center, and focusing on work executed between 1953 and 1955, early in Smith's artistic career. In charcoal or colored pastel on brown paper, the drawings have abstract forms with a biomorphic vibe and sense of sculptural solidity. In a number of them, circular shapes cluster like molecules or morph and divide like microorganisms. The biggest surprise, for those familiar with the artist's monochromatic 3D work, is Smith's masterful use of vibrant color. It's a 50-year-old palette that feels surprisingly contemporary. April 3. The Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross, 713-525-9400. — KK

 
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