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"HJ Bott: Rhythm and Rhetoric" Houston artist HJ Bott has been exploring his so-called "displacement-of-volume system" for 40 years now, and he's celebrating with an exhibition of his newest works at Anya Tish Gallery. It says something that after 40 years, Bott hasn't gotten bored with his self-developed technique, which explores lines and geometric shapes on fiberboard that he then casts with glossy, bold color. And the op-art works themselves are far from boring — they're bright, colorful works that attract viewers like moths to a flame. And once they get you there, they're highly cerebral — through his sharp lines and shapes, Bott plays with dimension, creating 3-D shapes that almost seem to rotate in space on the canvas. It's no surprise that the boldest and the brightest of them all — Mesocarp Mischief — is the star of the show. The painting graces the cover of the latest Arts and Culture magazine; it's the poster image on the gallery's handout, and it attracted gallery-goers during the opening like none of the other works. It's an intriguing visual — its thin black lines over the hot pink make it look like a Barbie barcode, while circles are uniquely dissected by lines, colors and curves. Bott says he's dabbling in concepts like yin/yang and string theory and applies layers of paint and glaze in vibrant colors up to 100 times, but his works lack emotion. It's all a bit too methodical — Bott even uses specific "warm" and "cool" colors to achieve the multidimensionality of his works. These works are all about dimension, but it's hard to get below the surface when it's all so manipulated. Through June 9. 4411 Montrose, 713-524-2299. — MD

"Jason Yates: All We Ever Wanted Was Everything" Jason Yates has lowered the volume on his art. In his first Houston solo show, at Barbara Davis Gallery, he has eliminated almost all color for mostly black-and-white patterns, creating an environment that's more meditative than in-your-face. There are even black wooden "monk boxes" scattered throughout the gallery that, if you didn't know any better, you'd think were places to sit down and drink in his textural works. In all, it's a pleasantly cohesive show. Yates has a series of acrylic and ink canvases that consist of intricate crosshatches and pieces of scalloped paper cascading down sections of the canvas. The drawings are incredibly meticulous — you might easily miss how labor-intensive it all is because the works are almost soothing. They're mostly black-and-white, varying by pattern, with the occasional loud pink or pale orange thrown in to shake things up, as if Yates teasingly turned the volume up to jolt you awake, then turned it back down once he had your attention. You'll be tempted to take a seat on one of the monk boxes before Snake Pit, a painstakingly crafted wall drawing that makes use of the gallery space in an incredibly clever way. The work is all zigzags à la Sol LeWitt and frames an entryway that looks right out onto Sunset and Sunrise, a wallpaper hanging in the front of the gallery that features black-and-white crosshatched squares reminiscent of Jasper Johns, but less carefree. As you stand there, these furious line drawings come together and take on a whole new dynamic. Yates doesn't have to be loud to completely hold our attention. Through June 30. 4411 Montrose, 713 520-9200. — MD

"Source Material: Works by Brian Dupont and Chris Rusak" Brian Dupont and Chris Rusak both work in language, though good luck trying to read anything they make. That's because their art also deals with transformation — using collage to deconstruct a text or stenciling letters onto abstract 3-D wall sculptures — and plays with language in subtle, unexpected ways. The two artists come together with Source Material, a delightful group show at Skydive Art Space curated by Brian Piana. Piana found the artists through Twitter, and it's amazing that the two even travel in the same circles there — at the outset, each artist's work seems to be the opposite of the other's, starting with their materials. Dupont works in oil and aluminum, using squares and pipes of metal as surfaces on which to place stenciled letters and blocks of color. Rusak works in collage on Masonite, cutting up pages from a book (Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams) and then rearranging them to form squares, diamonds and other shapes. Dupont and Rusak's pieces also have very different aesthetics. Dupont's oil paintings are all gritty, graffiti-like works that have an urban quality about them. Rusak's squares, diagonals and diamond objects have a clear order and logic to them and seem refined despite their simplicity. For all their differences, both artists manage to abstract language, forcing the viewer to find new ways of looking at and digesting what's already a highly familiar experience — reading — and making it thrillingly unfamiliar. The two are in good company. Through June 16. 2041 Norfolk St. 713-551-3497. — MD

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