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"Lucas Johnson: Original Prints" All summer long, the practice of printmaking is being celebrated with PrintHouston with works on display in nearly 30 galleries, featuring hundreds of artists who make both traditional and contemporary prints. But none may be able to capture printmaking's range and history here better than one show by a single artist. In an exhibition of original prints by Lucas Johnson at Moody Gallery, the pieces selected include all the printing styles in which the artist was skilled, from aquatint, etching, and lithography to serigraphy, drypoint, and mezzotint, spanning his prolific 40-year career. The works also subtly show Johnson's involvement with the Houston art and printmaking community. Many of the 25 works featured in this exhibition were printed at either Little Egypt Enterprises, led by master David Folkman during the 1970s or, later, Cerling Etching Studios, established by Penny Cerling in 1990. The gallery itself is even part of Johnson's legacy, as the artist showed his work there from when it opened in 1975 to his death in 2002, with the Moody continuing to show his prints thereafter. The only place Houston doesn't seem to register is in the subjects of the works themselves. Johnson had a love of many things – Mexico, music, politics and fishing, to name a few. From the band of Mexican musicians in the lithograph Los Musicos – extremely colorful and lively even in black-and-white – to the tension of the somber Springtime in Bolivia, to the ugly lantern fish in his well-known Bottomfeeders series, his prints are tokens of that love. They're works that are sometimes serious, dark and humanistic, and other times wonderfully strange and funny. And, above all, they're still highly technical and well-crafted. Through July 7. 2815 Colquitt, 713-526-9911. – MD

"reverse of volume RG" Yasuaki Onishi's latest installation at Rice Gallery is made out of just plastic and black hot glue, and yet it manages to take on multiple properties depending on your perspective. As you walk around the site-specific piece, it resembles a forest, the thin black glue like sparse dead trees on top of a mountainous terrain. Staring at it straight on, it looks like an otherworldly, alien creature, like an inverted jellyfish with long black tentacles. Venturing directly under the plastic, you're walking through a cave that's had all the color drained from it, save for hundreds of black splotches. Most of all, though, Onishi's new piece is unlike anything you can see or put a name to. There is a ghostly aura about the plastic as it stretches unevenly from one end of the gallery to the other, attached to the ceiling by strings of black hot glue. It's as if the plastic is propped over some misshapen form that you cannot see. These materials follow their own logic — the glue is splattered in a happenstance fashion, giving dimension to the cavernous plastic shape — which seems to be dictated by whatever is under it. As the title implies, the piece is playing with emptiness, filling the void above you and leaving the gallery's floor and walls untouched. One of the most remarkable things about this installation is how delicate it is. It seems like a slight cough would send the whole thing floating down on top of you. Even the gallery's air conditioning disturbs the structure, making it undulate ever so slightly. But, against all odds, it remains intact. It's a remarkable sight to behold at any angle. Through June 24. Rice Gallery, 6100 Main, 713-348-6069. — MD

"Tu Eres O No Tu Eres Mi Baby" On one level, Ricky Armendariz's text-based carved paintings, done on plywood, function as romantic landscapes, and they're quite beautiful. In Dame Dame Dame, the moody blue-black sky is cut by a streak of pinkish red, likely a river. Along the lower left, distinctive, soft streetlights trace an unseen road, floating spookily along in the blackness. In Dale Dale Dale, we seem to get a close-up of this landscape, with the same reddish-pink form set against the dark outline of mountains. Over both of these landscapes, Armendariz has meticulously carved out objects – a helicopter in Dame Dame Dame, a rifle striking a piñata in Dale Dale Dale – as well as the words of the paintings' titles. It's an intriguing juxtaposition, this destructive, physical technique over his lovely painting, especially when Armendariz gets to his primarily textual pieces. In works of the same name, he's carved the words and phrases "Mala mala mala," "Tu eres loca pero yo tequiero anyway" and "Tu crazy baby" over plumes of black smoke and magenta skies. Armendariz was raised in the border town of El Paso, and his paintings evoke this area with their pop culture, hybrid use of Spanish and English. On a darker note, they reference the drug wars in towns like Juarez, with their smoke, gun imagery and ominous text and colors. Even some of the carved-out words resemble the scattered shots of bullets in paintings like Tu Crazy Baby, where each letter is made up of numerous holes. Through July 6. Art League Houston, 1953 Montrose, 713-523-9530. – MD

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