Capsule Art Reviews: "Alex Rubio: A New Journey," "The New Black: Contemporary Concepts in Color and Abstraction," "Quantumdada Phase 2," "William Betts: New Mirror Paintings"

"Alex Rubio: A New Journey" San Antonio artist Alex Rubio fills G Gallery with vividly colored work with radiating lines that channel psychedelia and surrealism. Rubio started out as a street artist. In the triptych La Vela, the cylindrical forms of a bottle in a paper bag, a sacred heart of Jesus candle and a spray paint can seem to have evolved from each other. In another set of works, a painting of a flying locust morphs into a painting of an Apache helicopter. Rubio also has a group of riveting abstract works. With strong lines of color executed on dark grounds, the paintings come off as a sly blend of op art meets black velvet. But whether abstract or representational, Rubio's paintings seem to pulsate with a life of their own. Through November 28. 301 East 11th St., 713-869-4770. — KK

"The New Black: Contemporary Concepts in Color and Abstraction" "The New Black" is chock-full of just that — color and abstraction. Organized by Sally Sprout, the show features Michael Guidry's otherworldly, hard-edged, tape-intensive paintings. Filled with fractured, glacier-like forms, they evoke alien landscapes. Jonathan Leach is also a heavy tape user, employing it to create his boldly colored, highly geometric forms. Executed over multiple joined canvases and thick slabs of Plexiglas, Leach's bright, often Day-Glo paintings rival Peter Halley's for lurid intensity. Meanwhile, Myke Venable is joining his monochrome paintings together, turning the works themselves into compositions, and Katherine Veneman is offering up abstraction of a more lyrical nature with layers of swirls, lines and planes of color that reveal the hand — and brush — of the artist. Through November 26. Williams Tower Gallery, 2800 Post Oak Blvd., 713-939-1444. — KK

"Quantumdada Phase 2" This show is a decidedly eclectic assemblage of work that in one way or another relates to curator Volker Eisele's conceptions of quantum physics, Dada and quantum physics-meets-Dada. Trying to puzzle out how each work is supposed to relate to the show's theme is kinda headache-inducing, but taken on an individual basis, there are some interesting pieces in the show. Works by Greg Metz and David Graeve give you an idea of the show's range. Metz offers up Bush Cozy, a tragicomic Kleenex dispenser. It's a bronze head of George W. Bush with tissues coming out of the empty cranium and a plaque that reads "MY DEEPEST REGRETS TO THOSE WHO HAVE SACRIFICED THEIR LOVED ONES FOR MY IRAQ WAR." In the same room is Graeve's Lama Drubwang (Anti Matte) Max Planck 10-34 Planck Time. The piece is a giant orangey-red balloon, and I do mean giant; at eight feet in diameter, it takes up most of the gallery and represents an estimation of the size of the universe at the beginning of the Big Bang. Which suddenly makes the piece seem incredibly small and unimaginably dense. Through November 20. Rudolph Blume Fine Art/ArtScan Gallery, 1836 Richmond, 713-807-1836. — KK

"William Betts: New Mirror Paintings" In case you hadn't noticed, housing crises are cyclical. The imagery in William Betts's current series of "mirror paintings" is derived from photographs of an abandoned and unfinished Scottsdale, Arizona, subdivision the artist photographed in the late 1980s. Betts is a master at using technology to create striking works, generating optically entrancing art using computer-based means. For his current "mirror painting" series, Betts used a computer to plot and drill tiny divots into the back of a mirrored sheet of Plexiglas, where they function like enlarged pixels. The resulting depressions were filled with white paint, creating elusive images that appear and disappear as the viewer moves past them. Sleek and elegant, the images reflect the viewer in their networks of unsheathed wooden framing. But at times it seems that Betts is a victim of his impressive skills. The slick stylishness of the work tends to become the dominant element, overwhelming the imagery and any intended irony. December 2. Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery, 4520 Blossom St., 713-863-7097. — KK


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