Capsule Art Reviews: "Bert Long's RED Book", "David A. Brown: Trying to find my way...", "Round 32: eco, xiang, echo: meditations on the african, andean & asian diasporas"
"Bert Long's RED Book" Houston art scene fixture Bert Long presents 18 new pieces based on The Red Book, Carl Jung's personal art journal that was published for the first time last year. Jung's artwork was based largely on the symbolism of dreams, and Long mines his own personal unconscious for this show, which manages to incorporate elements evocative of Jung's personal style. Many of Long's works utilize collage; they're assemblages of objects with paintings. Several of the works on display employ deconstructed pinewood frames beautifully stained with acrylic, giving the paintings a somehow "bookish" look. Self Examination, literally the theme of the show, evokes the surrealists — Tanguy in particular — with its blobby shapes and oozy texture. It's Long examining his body's output, both physically and psychically. Stumped is a nightmare vision of a human heart on fire and dripping with water, perched on a leg and coiled with a green snake. It's ubiquitous symbolism, perhaps, but Long's presentation is powerful. Beware after viewing: Long's work, appropriately on exhibit at the Jung Center, might provoke a restless night or two. Through May 28. C.G. Jung Center, 5200 Montrose, 713-524-8253. — TS
"David A. Brown: Trying to find my way..." David A. Brown's recent photos address the way our brains process imagery. According to science, the brain analyzes 8,960 kilobits of information per second, and it's Brown's objective to freeze that process in a snapshot. He photographed buildings and storefronts in Houston (mostly downtown), catching angular reflections in windows that cast dense layers of imagery. The photos are remarkable for their ability to capture, all together, what our eyes and brains can only observe one picture at a time. One photo, Washington Ave/chest of drawers with trees, captures a furniture-store window displaying a chest of drawers, but the reflection in the glass casts trees that look as if they're perched on top of the chest, along with a ghostly vase of flowers. Downtown scenes are rendered in gorgeous architectural grids, stacking industrial components, like air-conditioning ducts, against blue skies and clouds. Brown's prints would be beautiful developed as is, but he goes a step further, displaying them in 3-D (like those Jesus pictures where his eyes blink when you move your head). The extra touch adds a sense of confusion, altering our perception of illusion and reality. It's captivating work. Through April 30. Darke Gallery, 5321 Feagan, 713-542-3802. — TS
"Round 32: eco, xiang, echo: meditations on the african, andean & asian diasporas" This round of installations at Project Row Houses examines the similarities between the cultural disseminations of Africa, South America and Asia. The works spotlight individuals and groups displaced, in a sense, from their cultural roots and traditions. Minette Lee Mangahas calls attention to an indigenous Filipino script called baybayin that exists almost exclusively on people's skin as tattoo. She drapes the room in a flesh-toned fabric and augments the surroundings with cut mirror and tattoo photos. Glexis Novoa tells the story of a Cuban relative's socialist background with a surprising installation. He traces a fine pencil line along the room's walls and occasionally interrupts it with tiny, intricate drawings of Soviet-era inspired imagery, like communist statues and architecture, tangled together somehow in string and strewn banners, possibly in a state of decay. Mendi + Keith Obadike weave sounds of the Third Ward community into their visually and aurally mesmerizing work Sonic Mbari. Colored coils of light, cast over a long section of rocks, flicker according to the tone and volume of the audio track. It echoes the Nigerian concept of the Mbari, a religious offering designed for a specific community. Through June 20. Project Row Houses, 2521 Holman, 713-526-7662. — TS
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