"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

"Plain Sight" East Sunset Heights film institution 14 Pews usually directs your attention up front to its screen, but this month, it's encouraging you to look at its walls as well. In collaboration with Houston arts organization Intuitive Eye, 14 Pews is displaying the work of three acclaimed outsider artists in the show "Plain Sight." "Acclaimed outsider artists" is a bit of an oxymoron. By definition, outsider artists operate outside of mainstream art institutions and art historical context. But in their lifetime, the three here were able to gain recognition for their craft, showing in galleries, winding up in collections and drawing the eyes of admirers. Of the three men, two were from Houston, the third from Baltimore. Two were also homeless, while the third preferred to work "in the fresh air" along the road. Two are also dead, the third only presumed to be alive. To view their work, you must go in and out of the pews; it's a slow, contemplative process. The dramatic lighting of the former church does well to highlight the art, and Paul Darmafall's glass mosaics are particularly beautiful under the spotlights. Known as "The Baltimore Glassman," Darmafall (1925-2003) claimed a busy stretch of Baltimore roadway as his white wall, making mosaics and collages from found shards of glass. His varied subjects ranged from the religious (Jesus, an angel) to the patriotic (George Washington, Yankee Doodle, the Liberty Bell). Richard Gordon Kendall's drawings bring us to closer to home. The Houston homeless man (born about 1930; current whereabouts unknown) turned to art when he reached "retirement age." His subject was the streets themselves — a homeless shelter, a yellow building, even recognizable places like Two Houston Center. This being Houston, these downtown spots are also devoid of people. Kendall salvaged paper from the trash and, amazingly, saved up for ballpoint pens, markers and crayons when he could. The fact that a man chose to buy these tools, likely small luxuries, speaks volumes about the value of art, craft and self-expression. The third artist is "Remmy," a Houston homeless man who died in 2008 after a hit-and-run. Curator Jay Wehnert had admired Remmy's work — installations in the Heights made from found paper, ribbon and cardboard boxes — from afar for several years. His wife photographed one such installation in the railroad trestle underpass on Yale Street, seen in this show, preserving it for good before it was mistaken for garbage and removed by trash collectors. Such found-art installations demonstrate what can be a fine line — as the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Through April 26. 800 Aurora, 281-888-9677. — MD

"Territorial Pissings" Geoff Hippenstiel has a most risky process: When he has a perfectly good painting, he intentionally messes it up to create a problem he then has to solve. It's a method that could potentially ruin a work, but lucky for us, it results in paintings that are richly detailed and engaging. Engaging hardly seems a strong enough word to describe what it's like to process a Hippenstiel. The longer you look at any of the five untitled works currently on display in "Territorial Pissings" at Devin Borden Gallery, the more you see. You're left with a completely different painting than when you first approached. That's because the abstract works are layered with unexpected colors and markings that are waiting to be discovered, even after you've lived with them. They are thick with impasto, like the end result of some volcanic eruption that's spilled lime green, purple, red, gold and blue across the canvases in spurts. The canvases are massive, too; in a gallery equipped with 14-foot-high ceilings, the eight-foot-tall paintings don't seem all that big, but they are towering works. As you move clockwise from the left in the gallery, the paintings intentionally become more abstract. The first one you encounter — a smattering of markings in the shape of a skull — is a rare work for Hippenstiel, who's known for his impressive, large-scale abstract works and doesn't get this representational. He's making a statement, showing us he has some surprises up his sleeve and making his mark in something other than abstraction (hence the show's title, "Territorial Pissings," which is pulled from a Nirvana song title). While the skull is a clear subject, Hippenstiel conceals his inspiration in his other paintings, burying it under layers of oil and even spray paint. A Goya-shaped award statue is the starting point for at least one painting, the faint outline of a gold-hued face just there under the surface. Other seemingly monochromatic paintings bury colors that slowly reveal themselves to you. A giant gold piece seems pretty straightforward at first glance, but the longer you stay with it, the more tints of green and orange appear and it suddenly becomes a whole new painting. Magic? Nope, just a hell of a good painter. Through April 27. 3917 Main, 713-529-2700. — MD

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