Top

arts

Stories

 

"Luminous" The seven artists in this show are united well by their use of light — either simply using it as a tool, manipulating it or toying with its meaning — but some pieces simply work better than others. Tobias Fike's Half the Speed of Light Is Constant and Cannot Be Touched is especially effective. It features a narrow, house-like wooden structure with a window that's lit from within by a bulb. At first glance, it seems like something's missing — that's it? — though the exhibition list notes that you can touch the work. When you do, you immediately feel a heartbeat. Of course, it's not really a heartbeat, but it feels like one — you know that thumping rhythm. Somehow, Fike has trapped the vibration from more than 60 of the artist's family members clapping to his heartbeat inside the piece, and it assumes an unexpected alive quality — the wood gives off warmth, and you hear the vibration more than you feel it. It's a deeply personal piece that you soon become attached to, your own heartbeat trying to match the rhythms of the wood's in that weird way. Also of note is co-curator Annie Strader's Locating Eden, which features a Remington typewriter standing on a table, on a bed of soil. Adding to this indoor-outdoor puzzle, the serene image of clouds is projected onto the typewriter's paper. Another standout is co-curator Matthew C. Weedman's Freeman, a video featuring a small astronaut toy made larger than life, lit by a storm of bright blues that are a shock of color in this largely black-and-white show. My favorite piece has to be Kristen Beal's June, for its display of old-timey ingenuity and craft. She's made miniature scenes of her native Kansas landscape — a horse grazing, a looming water tower, even a moving oil rig — and positioned and lit them so that just their shadows cast against the wall. They're supported by wooden blocks, laid out like a road that you happily travel along. Through February 25. Box 13 ArtSpace, 6700 Harrisburg Blvd., 713-533-8692. — MD

"New Paintings: Geoff Hippenstiel" It seems trite to say an artist's work is exciting — how often have you heard that before? But that's the exact reaction I had when viewing Geoff Hippenstiel's new, large paintings at Devin Borden Gallery. In his first solo show here since his well-received MFA show at the University of Houston in spring 2010, the abstract oil paintings are almost too big for the gallery to contain. They take up its main exhibition space, its storeroom, even its office, making for some nice, colorful scenery at two desks. Every single one of these works is untitled — even the show is simply called "New Paintings" — but they're not without their own backstories. In short, the Houston artist starts off with one central image — Monet's lilies, Cézanne's Mont Sainte-Victoire, even, randomly, a Goya-bust award statue — and paints. He paints until the original inspiration is barely recognizable, though traces of it remain beneath the surface. As a result, the paintings feel familiar, and yet completely new. Whether it's the starting image or the artist's obsessive painting over it, the same material is always used — oil paint — but in an almost meta moment, Hippenstiel's viscous patches of metallic paint start to take over the work. The paint itself — its color and its thickness — becomes the subject, squeezing out the lilies or covering the pale gold of the Goya head in a bright green. In another painting, the original image is indiscernible, covered almost entirely in a thick blanket of shiny silver, erasing whatever came first. Experiencing the effacing quality of paint in this context is simple, but still exciting and completely alluring. The paint wins. Through March 13. Devin Borden Gallery, 3917 Main, 713-529-2700. — MD

"Since I've Been Away" David Lozano's paintings lie to you. In his solo show at PG Contemporary's new space, there's image after image of psychedelic patterns of blues, magentas and greens. These ribboned, weaving or spastic splashes of color stretch out, like pours of paint, over fuzzed-out, blown-up photos of rooms, street scenes or entirely unrecognizable grounds. But in fact, it's all meticulously, painstakingly planned. The seemingly random "pours of paint," à la Jackson Pollock? Created with a brush and sign painter's enamel. Those fuzzed-out "photographs" that, combined with the enamel, seem to evoke another dimension? Airbrushed (not the Photoshop kind, but the painting kind). It's a neat trick at first when you realize those intense, bold colors are not the work of some elaborate pouring process, but the hand of the artist, who's clearly studied paint movement. But with painting after painting of the same thing, this trick quickly loses its charm. While the pieces are fun, even "fabulous," as the artist says — there's even one yellow, orange and blue concoction aptly called "Joy Pop" — beyond that initial illusion that attracts your eye, there's not much substance. It's all contrived chaos, with the paintings lacking the carefree, spontaneous nature that they seem to be trying to convey. There was one piece that managed to stand out from the dozen other loud works — the teal, orangey-pink "Crush of Glimmer." This one stood apart, thanks to some detailed, even sensual, patterns that abandoned the effect of poured paint, and a stretch of pink and blue sequins. Yes, sequins. It's a pretty campy number as a result of this "bling bling," to use the words of a gallery-goer. But it's one that can really call itself fabulous. Through February 11. 3227 Milam, 713-523-7424. — MD

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Loading...