"The Texas Aesthetic VII: Minding the Texas Tradition" William Reaves Fine Art specializes in Texas artists who are influenced by and carry on the traditional portrayal of Texas landscapes. This is the seventh year of an annual group show, with 16 such artists exhibiting. One striking work by Laura Lewis is Boogie Woogie Blues — Cotton Harvest, featuring a vibrant sunset with the foreground filled with thousands of cotton bolls, and light and shadow playing on the plants tinged with richly rewarding blues. Jon Flaming's Abandoned Texaco, West Texas conveys a gentle sense of loss as the hustling modern world leaves behind a small-town single gas pump, once valued, now lonely and isolated. Jeri Salter's Alley View shows a dirt road and the backs of commercial buildings, as old-fashioned telephone poles lead one's eye into the drab distance, while red paint on some of the buildings provides relief from the grayness. Houston artist Erik Sproghe's Ruminations provides rolling hills in the background, reclining cattle on a field in the foreground and the skeletal head of a steer nailed to a fencepost, warning us of some possible calamity. William Montgomery's Long Billed Curlew fascinates with a finely detailed portrait of a placid curlew in the foreground and an oil refinery in the distance, posing the contrast between nature and development. Randy Bacon gives us Gonzalez, a portrait of a red-brick building of unusual proportions and details. It is aware that its chimneys are beautiful, its entrance welcoming, its balcony graceful and its sturdy elegance admirable. Mary Baxter is showing an intriguing work, Contrabando, depicting a waterway that has dried up, with orange-red buildings on distant hills. It becomes difficult to lament the drought when it can create such beauty. Through July 12. 2313 Brun, 713-521-7500, — JJT

"Tradition and Translation: Extension of Nature" Two Japanese artists share an exhibition of consummate subtlety and artistry. Mari Omori's work embodies the fragile sensitivity of the female principle. Masaru Takiguchi's sculptures embody the strength and virility of the male principle. Omori's fragile works, however, are also powerful, and Takiguchi's tough-minded sculptures show a sensitivity that is remarkable. Omori uses tea bags, or tea bag packaging, as her medium, though the casual viewer wouldn't know it. Her Sun Dial is a richly textured but quiet extravaganza with a spiraling effect, the outer edges seemingly serrated. It is composed entirely of hundreds of the envelopes that tea bags come in. In Omori's vessel iii, a beehive is enclosed in a dark brown wrap, open but tied together, with the ties echoing antennae, ominous and threatening. A companion piece, vessel ii, is pale, almost white, and filled with empty tea bags arrayed to create a sense of fluffiness. The result is a fascinating contrast as a bonus. Takiguchi works in wood, stone and metal, creating abstract sculptures that provide no narrative but rely instead on graceful curves and richness of materials to enchant the viewer. Be sure to spend time with Memory of Butterfly, in richly veined walnut, and marvel at how hardwood can be transformed into soft, sprightly curves. Wind and Rain is made from pine, as individually carved wood segments are arrayed to create a spiral staircase — powerful, evocative and haunting. In stone, Takiguchi uses Tennessee marble for The Wave and Spring Haze, and Brazilian black granite for his Night Ocean, pairing a glossy exterior with a textured interior. The artwork is presented by Arts Brookfield in cooperation with Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Inc. Through July 30. Total Plaza, Lobby Level, 1201 Louisiana, 713-336-2280. — JJT

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