"Michael Petry: Bad Restoration" There's a bit of backstory to Michael Petry's new body of work. While the Texas-born, London-residing multimedia artist was in a residency last year at Sir John Soane's Museum in London, the museum was undergoing a restoration project. This idea of restoration pervades his pieces — they're works that are seemingly ruined. At the same time, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray had a major influence — the idea of a piece representing the passage of time, reflecting back an image of a person that isn't really there. The result is eight glass mirror pieces that are currently hanging in the front room of Hiram Butler Gallery. They're called mirrors, but you wouldn't trust them to help you apply your eyeliner in the morning. They're broken, consisting of layers of thin sheets of glass and pieces of sterling silver or 24-karat gold, one over the other. They'll only reflect back a partial, broken form of yourself, with the intent to make you pause and think about how you present yourself to the world. Or something like that. I was too distracted by the beautiful damage of the silver- and gold-leaf pieces to notice my own shattered reflection. In each work, the gold or silver has complex layers and textures that look at turns like ridges, the contours of fingerprints or, in the case of silver especially, broken surfaces of ice. The surface of all these images has been compromised, but they're being displayed nonetheless, warts and all. It's a funny and completely modern thought — this idea of constantly wanting to improve and restore, and that going badly despite your best intentions. Yet there's still beauty in the damage. Through September 22. 4520 Blossom St., 713-863-7097. — MD

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