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"Maxim Wakultschik: FaceTime" Maxim Wakultschik has a one-track mind — he likes faces. They cover every piece of artwork in his fourth solo show, up at Anya Tish Gallery, and have been mostly dominant in the shows preceding it. To the German-based artist, "nothing is as interesting as faces." And whether you agree or not, Wakultschik also does some pretty interesting things with them. On one side of the gallery, you have 3-D wooden objects titled Multipersonality that feature two alternating faces painted onto the grooves. As you go from one side of the piece to the next, the faces change, like a hologram. Except this is all done with oil and wood, so the effect is even more unexpected, if a little cheap-looking. On the other side, you have more wooden works, each one made up of more than 60 small angled blocks arranged into a black, gold or silver square. Each block bears the outline of a face drawn in graphite that you have to get close up to see. It's a small payoff in the end but is structurally interesting to look at, especially with all three pieces lined up in a row. The most compelling works in the show, which is appropriately titled "FaceTime," are a series of painted portraits boxed behind Plexiglas that look like floating heads. They are jaw-dropping, the types of pieces that elicit a "wow" from gallery-goers. Starting with a photograph, Wakultschik paints and draws on his portrait before curving it behind a sheet of Plexiglas, resulting in a luminous 3-D effect. They look like they're glowing from within, but no lighting is involved. There are nearly a dozen of these portraits in the show, the most impressive of which is the massive Anastasia. The piece takes up the back wall, and the red lips — the only source of color that's not black or white — immediately draw you in. The closer you get to it, the blurrier it gets, so it is best viewed from a distance. Wakultschik doesn't offer any clues to how he achieves his floating-head effect; the sides of the box are blocked off, obscuring the magic at play. Smaller 3-D portraits are arranged in a colorful grid. Each person has his or her own pop of color, like a monochrome Andy Warhol. Unlike the generic model used in Anastasia, these portraits are of people you'll likely recognize — renowned 20th- and 21st-century artists such as Chuck Close, Frida Kahlo, Robert Rauschenberg and Jean-Michel Basquiat. There's a little cheat sheet on the gallery price list to help clue you in to who's who, but they are pretty distinct and full of expression to help identify each one. Homages are tricky — by directly referencing the work (or, as in this case, likeness) of a great, influential artist, you set yourself up for an unfair comparison. But lucky for Wakultschik, these works are visually striking, different and fresh while conveying an intriguing range of influences, too. The only person missing is Warhol himself, but maybe that would have been a bit too on the nose. Through April 20. 4411 Montrose, 713-524-2299. — MD

"New Work: Drawings, Collages, and Tiles" While exploring the imagery of power lines throughout his 30-year career, Randy Twaddle's work with the surprisingly elegant black lines has appeared in paintings and on wool rugs, textiles, even tote bags. A new show at Moody Gallery featuring the Houston artist and designer's work demonstrates that he's not done yet with the electric muse and there's still a lot more experimentation to be done. In fewer than 20 pieces, Twaddle works in plywood, charcoal on paper, tiles and collage, all mediums that convey the simple, transfixing beauty of the silhouettes. I would have liked to see more of his work with plywood beyond just the introductory Tether, with the lines striking the wood in gesso, though that's so 2011. As of late, Twaddle has made a return to his medium of choice — charcoal and paper — in the works Lord's Acre and Forager's Compass. The massive abstract drawings are perfectly symmetrical, resembling some urban Rorschach test. Twaddle goes beyond these flat surfaces and into more 3-D territory with Mirabeau Tile, a wall sculpture based on a 2-D transformer-based pattern that consists of four identical bas-relief tiles cast in hydro-stone. There's no black silhouette here, just monochrome white, which makes the raised bumps of the transformer seem creepily like veins. Beyond these explorations in tile and charcoal, the majority of the new works on display are small collages. There are 14 arranged in two neat rows that are made up of photographs of power and utility lines. These documents are cut up and put back together, like patchworks of varying blue skies, the occasional cloud and, in a nod to a recent practice of Twaddle's, coffee-stained paper. They feel like stamps showing the evolution of this impressive, ceaselessly inspiring interest in power lines — a look at where it's been and where it's possibly going. Through April 20. 2815 Colquitt, 713-526-9911. — MD

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