"Tony Feher: A Work in Four Parts" Tony Feher's exhibition at Blaffer Art Museum is getting a lot of attention right now, and rightfully so, but a much more modest show of the artist's work is also noteworthy. A Work in Four Parts, currently up at Hiram Butler Gallery, is quintessential Feher — the use of ordinary objects to make highly deliberate art — and feels very much like an intimate conversation with the artist. Feher doesn't often name his pieces, but he gives this work multiple identities. A Work in Four Parts refers to four shelves placed at different levels that support glass and plastic objects. Feher sensed a lyrical quality to this arrangement and further named each of the four shelves — Adagio, Allegro, Animato and Appassionato. Borrowing the names of these movements helps inform each shelf. "Adagio" means "at ease," and the shape and progression of the bottles do seem calm and low-key. "Allegro," on the other hand, means "lively," and this shelf is a bit busier and has more variety among the materials. And so on with the other two shelves. You can read these pieces as you would a piece of sheet music. There are even recurring notes or chords, as it were, as the same materials repeat themselves across the four parts. It's easy to forget what you're looking at when you study Feher's song. They're just plastic and glass bottles — junk, really — that are filled with even more junk — feathers, glitter, food coloring, cornstarch, packing peanuts. But Feher manages to make them worth looking at. The red, orange and blue of his dyed water is vibrant. The packing peanuts stick to the side of the glass jar as if in a state of suspended animation. A red ball rests at the top of a bottle, everything perfectly in tune with the rest. Feher gives us clues as to how to read his piece, and in the process we are looking at and considering these materials as if for the very first time. That's some magic. Through November 7. 4520 Blossom St., 713-863-7097. — MD

"Translucent Trajectories" Both Orna Feinstein and Carlos Zerpabzueta are multimedia artists who traffic in works that are optically playful and vibrantly colorful, making this show a dizzyingly fun experience. Each uses materials that are very plasticky — Feinstein with her plexi, Zerpabzueta with his co-polyester. These materials can be very cold, disengaging and, sometimes in the case of Zerpabzueta's work, muddy, but once you get past that, they are highly interactive thanks to their three-dimensional qualities.Feinstein creates an almost "Magic Eye" effect with her Tree Dynamics series — layered pieces of fabric, paper and monoprint on plexi radiate orbs meant to represent the concentric circles of tree rings. There's a lot of tension in the works, between the natural and synthetic, as well as her use of a traditional printmaking medium in such a contemporary way. Feinstein continues to play with that dynamic in her Morel series, inspired by the structure of a plant or fungus when observed under a microscope. These sculptural works feature sheets of monoprint on plexi that seem to move and pulsate as you walk around them. Zerpabzueta studied architecture at one point, and his minutely constructed works here do take on a strong architectural quality. There are boxes and monitor-like structures filled with layers of acrylic on co-polyester that take the form of patterns or text. They seem like little puzzles, pieces that need to be decoded. That's especially the case with Codigo de Marcas, a mounted piece that looks like an open book layered with letters in yellow, black, red and blue. Despite the familiar letters, these textual elements don't reveal anything (at least not to the solely English-fluent viewer). The more you look at it, the less sense it makes, but you can't help but continue to stare. Anya Tish Gallery, 4411 Montrose, 713-524-2299. — MD

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