It seems that everywhere we look, buildings are being torn down to make way for something shiny and new. Established and emerging artists have taken the cast-offs from this construction boom and created interesting works of art, on exhibit now at the Houston Community College Central Art Gallery, in the season opener “With The Grain” exhibit.
Three shallow drawers serve as the starting point for Edward Lane McCartney’s Restoration #1. Similarly shaped and sized wood scraps are arranged in horizontal and vertical groupings, with smaller and smaller sub areas, to create an eye-pleasing puzzle that would make Fibonacci proud.
Page Piland has produced effective trompe l’oeil pieces using trapezoidal wood and similarly painted canvas, both inset into a larger unpainted canvas. His painting technique is so flawless that one has to look very closely at the right side of Not a Knothole to see that it’s a painting; the resulting composition features a tiny heart backed by red fabric. The technique is used again in Not Yellow Heart. With Tulip, in which the knothole on the left appears as a red tulip in the painted replication. His third piece, The Night Watchman’s Instructions, melds rafters and tarpaper with a bright yellow palette; the title comes from his alternative text to the peeled back roofing material.
Patrick Renner, whom we know from 2014’s Conduit and 2013’s Funnel Tunnel, has two pieces in the exhibit: haunch features a small elbow of a wood form, edged with varying shapes of whitewashed wood in a meticulous arrangement, while new range offers thin strips of multicolored wood, arranged in jigsaw puzzle fashion, rising up to meet in the middle in a winding S-shaped peak.
Trespass, by Havel Ruck Projects, offers four roof segments from what seems to be the same house. Arranged as vertical triangles protruding from the wall, they tell the chipped-paint story of a once loved home that was painted white, then gray and finally green. The flip sides speak of those who lived there, from the poorly mixed pink paint in one room, to the deep salmon textured plaster to the old floral wallpaper complete with electrical outlets. These wedges, part of a larger body of work from the collaborative team of Dan Havel and Dean Ruck, have appeared before in a stacked clock formation.
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Jesse Lott’s floor piece, Blake’s Griffin, creatively incorporates scroll decor, bannister tops and chair legs into a graceful animal form. While his other two pieces were created in the early ‘70s, they still offer much to ponder, with their miniature vignettes and decades of grime. Self Portrait incorporates eye drops, a gold cross, slides of Michelle O’Michael’s work and light bulb shards encased in a basket with macramé hanger; while Shame Faced Woman’s central character, emerging from a mother-of-pearl nest and surrounded by sea glass, turns her back to the viewer.
A large pine beam, with its end carved into a smooth-polished orb, is refined and elegant in Chip; while Alex Larsen’s other piece, Extrusion Study: untitled, pushes rough concrete through pallet-like slats.
Experimenting with rounded pockets of sewn burlap, Raina Chamberlain’s wall pieces serve as frames in Shuttered and Walled.
“With The Grain” continues through September 23, at Houston Community College Central, 3517 Austin, open Mondays to Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 713-718-6600, HCC Central Art Gallery on Facebook.