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"Endless Disharmony and Telltale Ashes" Eric Zimmerman's new show at Art Palace is a confounding, skillful, frustrating and intriguing riddle of a conceptual art show that sticks with you for days. The exhibition is just one part of the concept, which also consists of a now-ended show of related works at Dallas's Reading Room called, conversely, "Telltale Ashes and Endless Disharmony," and a Tumblr of image and sound media. The Houston show itself consists primarily of two things — graphite drawings and collages. The graphite drawings are intricate reproductions of disparate objects. There's a bison carcass, a replica of the cover to René Daumal's Mount Analogue: A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing, the record Dream Baby by Roy Orbison, a reproduction of one of French painter Théodore Géricault's still-lifes, and a hand performing a magic trick with a coin. Where the graphite drawings are exact, even down to the wear on the cover of Mount Analogue, the collages take photographs of landscapes, wood cutters and destroyed houses from old National Geographics and rearrange them into something alien — all jagged edges and messy swirls of greens, browns and whites. They are the ashes, trying to reveal something that has been destroyed. Zimmerman gives us even more clues, including two zines containing text, definitions and images referencing those used in the show. There's still even more to the show to digest, so the question is, do you have the time to devote to this riddle? I'm still knee-deep in and trying to find my way out. Through October 27. 3913 Main, 281-501-2964. — MD

"Flyaway: New Work by Aaron Parazette" Since moving to Houston in 1990 to be a part of the Core Residency Program at the Glassell School of Art, Aaron Parazette has become one of the city's premier artists. He's taught at the School of Art at the University of Houston for more than a decade, had several solo shows in Houston, Dallas and abroad, and put on major shows himself, including a survey of Houston art currently up at McClain Gallery. Of course, there's also the matter of the art itself — crisp, slick, abstract designs that play with color and form in new ways and seem to get better and more refined every time. So Parazette's current title as Art League Houston's Texas Artist of the Year is a no-brainer. With the award also comes a solo show at Art League, and aren't we lucky. Parazette has decked out two walls of the space's main gallery with his signature, a wall installation. Called "Flyaway," it's an enveloping grid of blue, green, black and white that seems to stretch on infinitely. I loved the sense of speed Parazette managed to create in his bursts of color and lines, and even, likely unintentionally, the way the colors reflected off the black floor. The painting doesn't stop. The show also features six selections from Parazette's new Color Key series. He has abandoned the surfer slang he's experimented with in previous solo shows and focused solely on lines, color and shape. They're unusual shapes, at that — slanted, bulging half-circles, abrupt pentagons and perfect ovals that seem as if they're reacting to the bursts of color and geometric shapes within, trying to contain it all. Of course, these paintings are contained, whether by the limits of the canvas or the walls of the gallery itself. But at least for a little bit, it seems, those limits don't exist. Through November 2. Art League Houston, 1953 Montrose, 713-523-9530. — MD

"Texas Eclectic" "Texas Eclectic" is a lighthearted survey of the state's modern art scene, a who's who of local artists working in everything from painting and photography to sculpture and textile. Judy and Scott Nyquist are Art League Houston's "Texas Patrons of the Year," a yearly honor bestowed upon those who support the arts community here that also lets the honorees show off their collection. Among the 35 artists included in the Nyquist show, there are appearances by Joseph Havel, Sharon Engelstein, Bill Davenport, The Art Guys, Jonathan Leach, Sasha Dela, Aaron Parazette and this publication's own Kelly Klaasmeyer. Leach's plexiglass W.Y.S.2. is a focal point, drawing all eyes to its exact lines, while an untitled work by Robin Utterback that's all circles and dripping paint is particularly notable. Gary Sweeney's You're Our Favorite Artist is one of the funniest among several humorous works in the show, using speech bubbles to speak to the oftentimes contradictory nature in supporting the arts by asking for free work. There are also several works that put ordinary objects in a new context, from Dela's books of gossip magazines to Rachel Hecker's giant Green Car Check. Not only are these works the Nyquists chose, which hang in their home, but several of the pieces are gifts or were commissioned just for them. Chuck Ramirez's Elderflower is a crisp photograph of Judy's purse. Sarah is a straightforward photograph of the couple's daughter, made while the artist Amy Blakemore tested out a vintage camera with the Nyquist family as her subjects. Study for Jake by Parazette features experimental designs of the couple's son's name — a font all his own. These works won't mean nearly as much to you as they do to the Nyquists, but to their credit, they still manage to be engaging. Through November 2. Art League Houston, 1953 Montrose, 713-523-9530. — MD

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