Capsule Art Reviews: "flickerlounge: Short Films by John Herschend, Ben Peters and Lily Sparks," "Plenitude," "Pteridomania," "Timothy Greenfield-Sanders: Injured Soldiers and Marines"
"flickerlounge: Short Films by John Herschend, Ben Peters and Lily Sparks" Art of Painting 3, by Lily Sparks, is a four-minute 30-second video styled as a Bob Ross-eque painting show – which makes hostess/instructor Spark's blunt and profane commentary on art all that more entertaining. Part of this edition of Diversworks' flickerlounge screening room, co-presented by Aurora Picture show, Sparks sets out to make the "most found painting on Ebay" based on the site's three most popular painting search terms — "nude," "sleeping angel" and "Thomas Kinkade." What we get is Kinkade as a naked sleeping angel. Along the way, she explains that Michelangelo didn't paint the Sistine chapel out of inspiration, but because, "He had to pay his fucking rent." It's a pretty funny piece. In Frog Jesus, Ben Peters's short, dark and comic video, a guy tells about crucifying a frog to give the frogs a "Jesus," thereby saving them; it sounds like a true childhood story. The third video on view, Jonn Herschend's Embrace of the Irrational, is an 18-minute time commitment with less of a payoff. It begins promisingly as an educational film gone ridiculously awry, but drags on a little longer than it should. Through February 26. Diverseworks Art Space, 1117 E. Fwy., 713-223-8346. — 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
"Pteridomania" Thomas Glassford is doing some cool stuff in "Pteridomania" at Sicardi Gallery. "Pteridomania" means "fern fever" and was coined in the 19th century to describe the Victorian-era obsession with ferns from a botanical, as well as a decorative, standpoint. Glassford displays a range of fern imagery, but the most dramatic works are his leaf sculptures, which use vividly colored acrylic Plexiglas. Afterglow Hybrid Pendant 1 (2010) is a luminous, almost fluorescent-green work in which giant leaf shapes have been cut from the colored Plexi, stacked on a rod and hung from the ceiling. The shapes appear to have been heated and bent into more naturalist forms; they seem incredibly delicate until you realize they're not actually glass but Plexiglas. Jungala (2010) is Glassford's largest piece, a jungle gym-like framework that sprouts what look like palm and banana leaves, all in a lush, translucent ruby red. Light passes through Glassford's plexi flora, casting jewel-toned shadows on the floor. They're just pretty darn gorgeous. Through March 5. Sicardi Gallery, 2246 Richmond, 713-529-0443. — 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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