Top

arts

Stories

 

Capsule Art Reviews: May 1, 2014

"The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute" These days, Impressionist exhibitions are the art museum version of the ballet The Nutcracker: frothy and beautiful, if a little overexposed, and sure to pack 'em in at almost any price. Even though we've already had at least six or eight Impressionist shows during the past ten years, who could fail to love yet another one that includes 70-plus paintings by Renoir, Monet, Pissarro and Degas, among others? That's what the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is offering with "The Age of Impressionism." This isn't a star vehicle so much as an ensemble piece; these aren't the paintings that make the textbooks. They are, rather, a tribute to the taste of a collecting couple with very good eyes for art and lots of resources (that is to say, money) who were buying paintings to enhance their own lives at home rather than to dazzle tourists in museums. Frankly, unless you're something of an art specialist, you may have trouble remembering many of the paintings individually a day or two after you've seen the show. But if you're lucky enough to see it under the right conditions (not too many other viewers, the right kind of light that so often suffuses the galleries in the Rafael Moneo-designed Beck Building at MFAH, at a time when you're really in an art-viewing mood), you're almost certain to remember the deeply satisfying feeling that comes from standing in galleries surrounded by beautiful, harmonious paintings. Not at all a bad memory to take away from any exhibition. Extended through May 4. 1001 Bissonnet, 713-639-7300. — RT

"Jay Shinn: Cathedrals in the Sky" The Barbara Davis Gallery opened on April 25 its exhibition of "Cathedrals in the Sky," a solo exhibition by Dallas- and New York-based artist Jay Shinn of new and exciting works, almost all having a common shape — octagonal — but varied by differing choices in media. Silent Encore (84 x 204") dominates a wall with grace and subtle energy, a trio of three interlocking octagonals, side by side, each of a different coloration — and the colors change, through three projectors focusing colors on painted images, creating seamless beauty. Within each octagon is another smaller octagon, and within that, another smaller one, and within that, still another, so that the space between the octagons becomes stripes filled with projected colors. And what colors they are! Shinn has a talent for pairing them, and uses peach stripes contrasted with gray stripes to advantage. The colors evolve as projected from a three-minute loop, moving from one octagon to another. There are many delightful color combinations — come and find your own favorite. This strong primary piece overshadows the others, yet the smaller Enclosure 2, composed of a rich yellow color projected on a painted octagon, delivered beauty and style, and created an interesting three-dimensional effect. Some other works are three-dimensional: Outside Voice and Inside Voice have neon octagonal shapes mounted on platforms 8" deep, with the neon emitting a blue-tinged light. Shinn has added a large, square painting, Open Enclosure, perhaps an abstract version of an expanding universe. It features orderly splashes of color, mostly blues and grays, emerging from a concentrated center. It suggests movement, and is graceful and subtle, designed to seduce rather than to demand attention. Through May 24. 4411 Montrose, Suite D, 713-520-9200 or www.barbaradavisgallery.com. — JJT

"Jeff Shore and Jon Fisher: Trailer" The installation at McClain Gallery is by two collaborative Texan artists, Jeff Shore (Houston) and Jon Fisher (Dripping Springs). They have worked together since 2002, and this is their second solo show in Houston. This offering is kinetic, with much of the movement on film. A visitor pushes a small red button and a film appears, close to sepia in tone, suggesting days past, a simpler life; nostalgia seeps in. A series of images flickers onto a large screen on one wall. Large wooden semaphores unfold on film, as though a flower. An exercise bike turns, resembling an ancient spinning wheel, or the wheel to a prairie wagon. Human beings are absent — this is a tour of a museum of the mind, with no interpreter except you. A trailer, nestled in the woods, appears — old-style, small, silvery, devoid of luxury. Inside, four stools with no backs, as in an ice cream parlor, now empty, but one senses they once were filled with teenagers chattering away, eager to gossip and flirt, ordering vanilla Cokes. Drumsticks on automatic players beat tattoos on drums, retreat, re-emerge later. A paper lantern expands and contracts repeatedly, like an accordion, another repetitive image. The camera moves, but we, observing, are motionless. Echoes of circuses invade the mind. There is a big finish, as suddenly other walls come alive with pulsing images, and we are inundated, a tide of impressions sweeping us along with them. The images fade, the music dies, the flower closes and it is over. It lasts just 12 minutes, but it could be a lifetime. See it for yourself, and create your own narrative. Through May 31. 2242 Richmond, 713-520-9988. — JJT

1
 
2
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
 
Loading...