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Capsule Art Reviews: "CTRL + P" "Dining In: An Artful Experience" "Gifts from the Past: The Isabel Brown Wilson Collection" "In Residence: Work by 2012 Resident Artists" "Late Surrealism" "Unwoven Light"

 "CTRL + P" Authorship. Originality. These are some, but of course not nearly all, of the things that usually come to mind when considering art — the conceit of the artist and that his or her unique vision gives meaning and value to the work. Now, get ready to turn all that on its head. In the exhibition "CTRL + P" at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, words like open source and creative commons are more pressing than authorship and originality. The show, curated by Anna Walker, brings together artists who make work based on ideas and designs that are free for the taking, as long as you have the right technology. In this case, it's cutting-edge concepts like computer-aided design (CAD) programs and 3D printers, which, instead of adding ink to paper, build objects line by line out of metal or plastic. Using this 21st-century technology and designs from open-source websites, the artists here have been able to make sculptural and functional objects, often in bulk. There are silver and gold-plated stainless steel rings made by Erin Gardner and Margaret Drinkwater of The Opulent Project, based on existing ring designs from a Google 3D warehouse and made using a 3D printer. There are dozens of porcelain objects piled behind a glass case — some made by hands, others with the help of a CAD software program and then printed by 3D printing marketplace Shapeways — from ceramic artists Bryan Czibesz and Shawn Spangler. There's even a 3D printer on loan from Houston hackerspace TX/RX Labs for demonstration, spitting out orange teapots. The results are rather crude and unremarkable — there are a lot of plain ceramic pieces in odd shapes — if not for their origins. This is a forward-looking show that's more about the idea than the object and treading new ground in what's possible. For all it says about creation, one thing is of note — the works are still carefully attributed. It just goes to show that authorship — and giving attribution to the person behind the piece — still holds value. Through September 8. 4848 Main, 713-529-4848. —MD

"Dining In: An Artful Experience" This juried exhibition, on view at 18 Hands Gallery, features art that you eat with. Gallery co-owner Betsy Evans explains that these pieces are multifunctional, for use as decoration or on a dining-room table. However, a close inspection agrees more with the first option. While there are a few functional pieces, most of the exhibit's works are better suited for hanging on a wall. Take, for instance, Angela Stickels's Self Portrait platter, a Picasso-inspired creation of lips, lids and leaves. Stickels slices her face in two and places each side on opposite ends of the platter. Heavy makeup accents her eyes and lips. Just imagining a two-year-old splattering his spaghetti and meatballs all over this work of art is enough to induce hot flashes. And though her Celebrate Everything cake stand proudly bears the image of a cupcake with pink frosting, it's too pretty to be covered, even by Aunt Gertrude's blue-ribbon angel food cake. Daryl McCracken's The Blue Hole is a plate that also doesn't deserve to be covered and demands respect. It starts out light blue at the edges, swirling into a vortex of darker and darker hues of blue, until in the middle, a pool of Bermuda blue waits to suck you in. The effect is both pretty and otherwordly; the varying blues recall the Earth's horizon. Jan Dreskin-Hais's Plate of white, coral and black repeating triangles is just as hypnotizing, the shapes repeating themselves all over the plate. Who in his right mind would cover these with Hamburger Helper? If you must make function of fine art, the exhibition's drinkware might stand a chance. Though pretty like their plate partners, these cups, teakettles and mugs are more convenient, since what's ingested hides inside and it's the outside that counts. Caleb Zouhary's Black & White Soy Sauce set is architecturally stunning. The tiny teacup and pot set settle into a seashell holder, the whole of which is polished with a bright cherrywood glaze. Naoko Teruya's Condiment Set, which won Best of Show, features four pieces — two ceramic pots, a salt shaker and a pepper shaker — in shades of ashen coal and burnt coral. The pots stand side by side, spouts extended upward, like two soldiers at attention. Mary Linda Lewis's Florida Memories pitchers are embellished with leaves and lemons, primed and ready to pour cold lemonade. This is 18 Hands's sixth annual "Dining In" experience, according to Evans. She operates the gallery with Karen Cruce and Katy McKinin. All three women are ceramic artists, and the majority of artists featured in the gallery practice ceramics, as well. There are a few fiber and jewelry artists thrown into the mix, but the purpose of 18 Hands is "to expose Houston to a larger range of ceramic artists," says Evans. To wit, there are 40 of them featured in this exhibition. Through September 1. 249-B West 19th, 713-869-3099. — AO

"Gifts from the Past: The Isabel Brown Wilson Collection" There sits in the Audrey Jones Beck Building at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston an exhibition that is equal parts art history and memoriam: "Gifts from the Past: The Isabel Brown Wilson Collection," donated to the museum by Wilson after her death, is a connection between Wilson's love of art, her love of the history that created it and, ultimately, her love of MFAH. The exhibit reveals an interesting intersection between ancient Greek, Roman, Mesopotamian and Egyptian art and customs. The clearest connection that stands out among these ancient civilizations is status and wealth. For example, Mummy Portrait of a Young Girl, a wax piece from 30 B.C. to 100 A.D., fuses two cultures: the Egyptian practice of mummification and the Roman custom of creating portraits of the mummified. The young girl's pretty gold locket and fanciful purple robes are more than mere decoration; they tell of the upper-class stock she must have come from, since the hot wax used to make the work of art was fickle, drying quickly and requiring the artist to work swiftly, and families would pay a pretty penny for this service. There are also connections within each culture. Much of ancient Egypt's art could be used for practical purposes and then recycled into other pieces, either useful or artistic. A faience is finely ground crystal. Egyptians manipulated faience into jewelry, game pieces, furniture, bowls and cups, and later converted the crystal into small figurines that would lie with the mummified dead in the afterlife. The shabti of Tjai-en-hebu is one of three such figures on display just outside the gallery's front doors, ranging from tiny to small to medium in size. Through October 27. 1001 Bissonnet, 713-639-7300 — AO

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