"Room Divider" Mira can cut with the best of them. Instead of chop, chop, chop, throw, throw, throw, the artist brings an anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better spirit to the craft of woodcutting, abandoning saws or axes for lasers to cut plywood into geometrical shapes, which she then lines up into precise domino-style formations. "Room Divider" is her solo exhibition, proving Mira's flair for plywood precision. In addition to woodwork, Mira is also a disciple to the current trend of "found object art," in which she cultivates discarded or donated foam, plastic and paper to create sculptures big, medium and small. The origins of "Room Divider" belong to this trend. "This body of work began when I acquired 9,000 scrap plywood triangles from a laser cutting company in Northern Colorado, where I was living at the time," Mira wrote to us in an e-mail. "I've worked on variations of these sculptures at four different artist residencies in four different states – Spiro Arts, McColl Center for Visual Art, Taliesin West, and most recently here in town at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. The process is essentially one of endless repetition, making small modular units over and over until the sculpture reaches dimensions and a scale I'm satisfied with." She adds, "The show consists of three main works. The largest piece extends nearly 21 feet in length, while other works are wall mounted with variable dimensions." Mira has taken the triangles and glued them together into a circular structure, creating a sculpture that is both triangular and spherical -- a geometry professor's dream. The opposing shapes don't take away from the of the color of the plywood; each plywood triangle's tan color and sharp edge gives the sculpture a polished look, like something that a modern furniture store might sell. The 21-foot portion of the exhibition extends the length of Lawndale's Project Space, where it bisects the room, creating two rooms in one. Hence, "Room Divider." Until September 28. 4912 Main St. 713-528-5858. – AO

"Summer Studios 2013" Project Row Houses' "Summer Studios 2013" exhibition opened with a hotter than hot mid-August reception that showcased seven artistically transformed row houses — six filled with the art of individual undergraduate art students and one completed by a group, Rice University's Houston Action Research Team (HART). The houses couldn't be more different from each other — in content and execution. Maggie Hooyman's "Sharing, Understanding and Expanding" is perhaps the least artistically strenuous of the seven but the most inclusive. Markers, paintbrushes and bottles of paint are set up throughout the house. A sweet little note invites viewers to grab a bottle, a brush or a marker and decorate at will. The final product is a rainbow of colors and shapes splayed freely throughout, with positive phrases like "Peace, Hope, Faith" written on walls. Another dynamic art house is Byron Harris's "Hammocks and Music Boxes," a work that disproves economist John Maynard Keynes's prediction that in the future, Americans will enjoy the luxury of a "15-hour working week." Visualizing this involves the use of various pieces of colored string hung throughout the house. The most telling strings are the ones laced throughout a wooden bed frame. Bed frames are usually reinforced with strong wire that mattresses, and ultimately people, rest on. By replacing the wire with string, Harris proves the argument that the bed and, by extension, leisure have become obsolete. Jessie Anderson's "House," at 2509 Holman, is a literally grassroots work. The artist collected found objects, located "within a 15-block radius of this spot," and placed each on the walls of her art house. By doing this, Anderson created a tribute to the natural community of Third Ward. This is equally celebratory and depressing: That these castaway pieces are so easily found in the community reveals an apathetic habit of haphazardly throwing items into lots, yards and streets. "House," then, is a metaphor for Third Ward. Pollution crowds the streets; there is still work to be done. Aldo Rodan's "The Struggle Continues: a Depiction of Mexican Dreams and Hopes," at 2511 Holman, depicts four "dead" bodies: three on the floor and the fourth hanging by toes from the ceiling. The scene, Rodan says, reveals the horror of Mexican drug cartels and the innocents caught in the crossfire. Rodan created the bodies by covering mannequins in a substance he calls "fabric stiffener" and cloaking each with a gray sheet. Haunting. Through September 8. 2521 Holman, 713-526-7662. — AO

"Texas Biennial Invitational" Texas Biennial turns five this year. To celebrate, an exhibition will be on view from September 5 until November 9 at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio. As a special nod to past biennial participants, "Texas Biennial Invitational" is being held at Lawndale Art Center, honoring Christie Blizard, Marcelyn McNeil, Tom Orr and Brad Tucker with a showcase of the artists' current works (Blizard, McNeil, Tucker) and previous ones (Orr). The exhibition, in Lawndale's Grace R. Cavnar Gallery was curated by Michael Duncan (TX 9) and Virginia Rutledge, and is organized in a circle, with Tucker's nine-unit installation, "Body and Voice" (2013), situated in the middle. This is a clean, polite curation, one that allows movement around the pieces, giving viewers the opportunity to admire every artwork on view. Press releases emphasized abstraction as the exhibition's focal theme. It is a theme, but it is the rich color of "Texas Biennial Invitational" that pops out more, even in Orr's black-and-white silkscreen abstracts. Hanging as a set of three on the wall facing Lawndale's large windows, "Nothing More Nothing Less," (2013) "Orange Like A Pro" (2013) and "Red Herring" all display the exhibition's color theme, as well; splotches of bright pink and orange in no particular shape or order adorn each canvas beautifully. On the opposite wall, "Walk Project (visiting where I grew up in Columbus, IN) 7/4/13" (2013), is colorful, too, but identifies more as graffiti art than abstract, thanks to the bursts of rainbow color spray painted onto a canvas lying on the floor. "ZZZZZZZ" (2007) is an oxymoron, for there is nothing boring about it. The mixed media piece is a black-and-white silkscreen rectangle that runs nearly floor to ceiling. This big rectangle is accented by pops of bright color in random places next to or on it: a black square; a teal rectangle; a mirrored cube; a lime green neon string that dangles from the top of the giant rectangle. Its brother, on the other hand, is not boring, either, but might induce hypnosis. "Fingerprint 5," (2007) located on another opposite wall, is completely monochromatic, but designed in an elegant diamond pattern that moves when the viewer stands still. Stare at the center long enough and the horizontal and diagonal lines that wiggle start to look like Medusa's deadly locks jumping out at you, hell-bent on turning you to stone. As you stand there, immobile, staring wide-eyed and slack-jawed at the 81-by-81-foot piece, it appears they've done the job. Until September 28. 4912 Main St. 713-528-5858. – AO

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