Capsule Art Reviews: "A Matter of Wit," "Plenitude," "Timothy Greenfield-Sanders: Injured Soldiers and Marines"
"A Matter of Wit" "A Matter of Wit" is an apt title for FotoFest's exhibition of three photographers who cleverly capture, construct and/or stage images that use humor in ways that are subtle and sometimes even poignant. The Europeans are the standouts in this show, curated by FotoFest's Wendy Watriss. Czech artist Miro Švolík displays an Eastern European sense of the absurd. In a wonderful series from the '80s, the artist staged scenes on the pavement below his studio window. In one, a man lies flat on the ground, legs posed as if he is running, his back bent and his arms held out behind him to seemingly support an unsupportably tall stack of books that stretches over the pavement. Meanwhile, French artist Gilbert Garcin, who didn't take up photography until age 65, creates charming and low-tech black-and-white images. He photographs himself in various poses, always in the same trench coat, and then makes a tiny print of himself. He then cuts it out and inserts it into little dioramas he has constructed using humble materials like sand, bricks and nails. In one image, he seems to put his arm around a rock, embracing it like an old friend. Through February 25. FotoFest, 1113 Vine St., 713-223-5522. — KK
"Plenitude" "Plenitude" is a big group show of "emerging and established artists," and as such, it's a well-chosen grab bag of nice work. Among the standouts is Hoary Squeezy Conversation (2010) by Annie Lapin. The artist uses paint in a way that is engaging and modern — it looks alternately brushed and squeegeed on — while the imagery looks simultaneously abstract and representational. And speaking of "abstract," Joe Davidson's Abstract (2005) is a collection of small cylindrical forms with a twist. They look like lovely little jars cast from wax or carved from alabaster, but actually they're hollow, featherweight forms made from Scotch tape. Meanwhile, Gavin Perry's painting Mother do you wanna bang heads with me (2008-2010) delivers glossy color in orange and yellow pours of resin so vibrantly colored they look molten. Through March 5. Barbara Davis Gallery, 4411 Montrose, 713-520-9200. — KK
"Timothy Greenfield-Sanders: Injured Soldiers and Marines" In Timothy Greenfield-Sanders's photograph Danielle Green-Byrd, Specialist, U.S. Army, an attractive young black woman in a pale-blue button-down and low-rise trousers smiles at the camera. She's holding her prosthetic forearm in front of her. This October, the United States is coming up on more that ten continuous years of war. The fact that we are at war ebbs and flows through the consciousness of most of us in the general public. But the people who have been irreparably injured by war can't forget. In a project commissioned by HBO in conjunction with the documentary Alive Day Memories, Greenfield-Saunders took this series of unflinching portraits of young men and women disfigured and maimed by war. They confront Greenfield-Saunders's camera calmly and directly, not asking for pity but asking us to see them for who they are and what they have survived. Through March 2. Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery, 4520 Blossom St., 713-863-7097. — KK
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