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Capsule Art Reviews: "Donald Baechler: Sculptures and Paintings" "Larassa Kabel: and all of this so far from Heaven" "Perspectives 174: Re: Generation" "Regine Schumann: Chameleon" "Round 34: A Matter of Food" "Heinrich Kühn: The Perfect Photogra

 "Donald Baechler: Sculptures and Paintings" Like a kindergartner, Donald Baechler always seems to be painting with a brush that's way too big. But the artist somehow manages to channel the "childlike" without getting hokey, and he's offering up his appealingly lumpy work at McClain Gallery. His series of flower paintings, crudely rendered black silhouettes on gloppy grounds, are nice but get a little repetitive. The real standouts in the show are Baechler's absurdly flat bronze sculptures. A misshapen teacup sprouts roughly formed tulips when viewed from the front, but when you walk to the side, the work practically disappears. It's a really witty piece, and there's a wonderful consistency between the paintings and the sculptures — the 3D works look like they were cut straight from the artist's canvases. April 30. 2242 Richmond, 713-520-9988. — KK

"Larassa Kabel: and all of this so far from Heaven" Colored pencils get a bad rap. As is the case with the equally derided watercolor, there is nothing inherently wrong with the medium, it's just that they both seem to attract so many people who make such bad art. Larassa Kabel's work at Peel Gallery is, for the most part, a welcome exception. Kabel works in a restrained black and white palette. Her series of small works done from oddly cropped photos provoke that "Wow, it looks just like a photo!" response. They aren't bad, but they just aren't pushed far enough beyond skillful duplication, and showing them framed with glass and clips over colored mats doesn't help to dispel colored pencil's high-school art associations. But Kabel is capable of some really incredible work, and her series of eight-by-eight-foot drawings of horses in free-fall are stunning. Set against blank white paper, the massive animals twist and contort in the air, their manes and tails flowing, their muscles clearly visible under their shiny coats. They remind me of an equine version of Robert Longo's 1980s drawings of flailing yuppies. If Kabel keeps producing work of this caliber, Prismacolor should give her a stipend. Through April 30. Peel Gallery, 4411 Montrose, 713-520-8122. — KK

"Perspectives 174: Re: Generation" This biennial exhibition organized by the CAMH's Teen Council showcases the work of Houston-area teens, and it features some wonderful stuff — you'll want to take down some names of artists to watch. The flagship image of the show is Alyssa Hansen's digital photograph Princess, a closeup on a teenage girl's lower lip, which she reveals to be tattooed with a crown. It's a generational line in the sand, an example of a phenomenon that makes perfect sense to those of a certain age, and yet it represents total absurdity to their elders. Another photograph, David Garrett Marsh's Fading Away, depicts an overweight girl sitting cross-legged at the side of a road, smoking. Next to her is a fuzzy gray cloud in the shape of another person, perhaps a friend. And the girl's face is strangely blurred — on closer inspection, her face is pixelated and raised off the surface of the paper. Ava Barrett's Deconstructed Hymnal: Wall of Sound is a hanging matrix of hymnal pages that walks a line between provocative and reverent. But Temin Adelaide Eng's Twilight doesn't pull punches on how it feels about its literary subject: Stephenie Meyer's series of vampire novels. Eng has constructed a miniature coffin, lined with pages from the novel, which she has burned. Its charred remains lie inside with only a portion of the cover and spine intact to identify it. And continuing the impressive photography on display is Brittany Nichols's Strange Manners, a scene of macabre domestic violence. A man wearing a rabbit mask lies dead on a kitchen floor, apparently stabbed to death by a woman, also rabbit-masked and bloody-handed. It's a coolly composed, lit and staged piece of narrative photography. Through June 26. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose, 713-284-8250.— TS

Location Info

Map

McClain Gallery

2242 Richmond Ave.
Houston, TX 77098

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Lower Shepherd-Kirby

Peel Gallery Shop

4411 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, TX 77006

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Montrose

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

5216 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, TX 77006

Category: Museums

Region: Montrose

Gallery Sonja Roesch

2309 Caroline St.
Houston, TX 77004

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Third Ward

Project Row Houses

2501 Holman
Houston, TX 77004

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Third Ward

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

1001 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX 77005

Category: Museums

Region: Kirby-West U

"Regine Schumann: Chameleon" Regine Schumann's fluorescent Plexiglas boxes may have a subtle glow during the day, but under black light, they look like they've been plugged in. Schumann combines planes of vividly colored Plexi to create her wall-mounted works. They're well-crafted, but aside from the very cool luminosity factor, most of the forms rely on standard geometric shapes. Still, there are a couple of very interesting standouts in which Schumann is taking expected squares and rectangles and ever-so-slightly warping the sides in or out. The best is a large square in a radiant "safety orange." Schumann has curved the sides outward so slightly that you keep wondering if it is an optical illusion. Subtle alterations like these give the work a very interesting edge. Through May 7. Gallery Sonja Roesch, 2309 Caroline Street, 713-659-5424. – KK

"Round 34: A Matter of Food" Project Row Houses' current round of installations takes food as its theme — the roles it plays in culture, history, belief systems, rituals and community. Chefs, historians, nutritionists and gardeners (as well as artists) were asked to participate by curators Ashley Clemmer Hoffman and Linda Shearer, and perhaps that's why there's less art on display than usual. The round leans heavily on community outreach, historical commentary and environmental projects, and only three houses out of the seven present challenging emotional and intellectual experiences. New York-based artist Michael Pribich's Sugar Land presents the sugar trade from the laborer to the factory, with stalks of cane standing upright inside a brass railing, bags of Imperial sugar stacked upon wall-mounted machetes, and a series of framed dollar bills with stamped letters that spell "Imperial." Jorge Rojas's Gente de Maiz explores corn/maize as a religious entity. He created a miniature army of corn people and a kind of altar/shrine to the corn gods. And Tamalyn Miller's Spirit House takes inspiration from Amish hex signs with a series of large crocheted doilies (made of clothesline, string and electrical wire, and adorned with horseshoes, dimes and railroad spikes. Not really food-inspired, but it's the most inspired installation in the round. The signs are thought to repel evil spirits and energy, but their presence makes each room feel haunted somehow. Through June 19. Project Row Houses, 2521 Holman, 713-526-7662. — TS

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