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Capsule Art Reviews: May 22, 2014

"Ann Harithas: Memory" is the first exhibition of this artist after she recovered completely from what may have been a stroke last year, in which her memory and ability to recognize old friends were damaged. Harithas began reviewing old photographs, and her faculties and memory were restored. She works with digital image montages, and Memory Lane has two Asian men staring with interest at an off-canvas event, while a female child over the head of one looks directly ahead — is this a separate image, or is it the thought of the Asian, double-tasking? High School Prom has a photograph of a fresh-faced girl, innocent but expectant. What at first seems like a beret turns out to be a coiled rattlesnake, as sharks circle below. There is a medicine man, but can he protect her? A separate set of lips, heavily cosmeticized, suggests that sophistication lies in wait, whether Dad wants it or not. Dreams I Remember has a young girl reading peaceably by a window, with the scene covered with what seems to be a transparent, filmy fabric, except that it is instead an impression of brainwaves, and 16 globes circle her — these are brain scans. The work is complex, with emotional power. Brain Game is a large triple-image work of a young girl seated, with subtle variations. On the right she is on a ceramic seat, but in the middle and on the left, the seat is an open container. A picture of a brain on the right serves as her skirt, as her head in the middle and perhaps as a chandelier on the left. The contrast between the brain, the heavily patterned container and a stark brick wall adds a rich choice of textures. Through May 31. D.M. Allison Gallery, 2709 Colquitt, 832-607-4378, www.dma-art.com. — JJT

"Charlotte Smith: Paint Rhetoric" These paintings use similar materials, but color variations are vast; each painting sings a different siren sing. They seem to be invitations, telling the viewer what kind of experience to expect. Dominant in the Anya Tish Gallery is Late Conversation (Night Dance). With a black background and dots of many colors, often blue, it has an oriental flavor. Charlotte Smith uses her paint generously, applying it to small pieces of paper or canvas, shaped a bit like sperm or a comma. These are glued to the canvas, and only close inspection reveals the layered effect. The emotional content is powerful. Grandiloquence is golden but subdued, suggesting an invitation from old friends to reminisce a bit, relaxing, serene. Magniloquence, with red dots and thin green stems, creates the impression of a field of poppies and of a celebration. Braggadocio, with white dots on a green background, seemed less involving, in tune with its title. Smith varies her approach in a series of paintings that suggest a spiral binder, though far more complex. Each is composed of two separate paintings, side by side, with the interior side of each having tiny projections of paint that are shaped like bowling pins; these look like spiral bindings from a distance. Each side of the painting is close to the mirror image of the other side, and the dots cluster near the "spiral," as though magnetized. In Small Confabulation I, there are brightly colored dots against a gray background, and the projections are colored in rings, like a croquet mallet. These paintings are about composition and texture. Smith is a painstaking artist; the amount and quality of her detailing is impressive indeed. Through May 24. 4411 Montrose, 713-524-2299, www.anyatishgallery.com. — JJT

"The Inner Marilyn" Public fascination with Marilyn Monroe continues — the iconography of her image earned $27 million last year. The Jung Center has created a fascinating exhibition, curated from The Babydoll Museum, the private collection of Marie Taylor Bosarge, featuring Marilyn Monroe's personal artifacts, costumes and personal effects. The exhibition captures Monroe's magnetic power and her capacity to project a variety of personalities in photo shoots and films. Bert Stern photographed her in 1962, shortly before her death, and these colored photographs leap off the wall. In one, her hair is disheveled, covering her right eye, but the heavy-lidded left eye is enough to let us see why David fell for Bathsheba. There are photographs of Monroe when she was still a brunette; these capture a youthful openness and sweetness. In her last photo shoot, she exudes such joy and zest for life that it's difficult to believe she took her own life, as is surmised. One dress on display is full-length, gold and red, worn by Betty Grable in a film, and modified to add a train when worn by Monroe in River of No Return. These garments document her hourglass figure, as do the photographs of the nude bathing scene in Something's Got to Give — her physical beauty may take your breath away. There is a carved wooden chair with the upholstery punctured by Monroe's heel. A picture of her on this chair is an anchor, reminding us that though she has become a goddess, she once was as human as you and I. Through June 10. 5200 Montrose, 713- 524-8253, junghouston.org. — JJT

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