Virgil Grotfeldt, “Paintings”

Unfamiliarity is a hallmark of Virgil Grotfeldt’s otherworldly paintings, and you can see why in his latest exhibit at the Wade Wilson Art Gallery, “Paintings.” The Houston-based artist uses unconventional materials, like coal dust mixed with acrylic, to create what Wade Wilson Art calls “biomorphic abstractions.” While the color-parched imagery resembles organic material such as leafy plant forms with pod-like appendages, they’re nothing like any plant that appears on Earth (that’s been discovered, anyway). The alien vegetation seems to hang in cloudy, dusty air or float in murky, polluted water, offering — from whichever perspective you choose to view it — a warning or a welcome. Order and disorder rules in Grotfeldt’s work, and he details it impeccably and with restraint. It’s like Victorian naturalist illustrations of chaos — think Beatrix Potter on acid. 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Through January 30. 4411 Montrose. For information, call 713-521-2977 or visit Free.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Jan. 11. Continues through Jan. 30, 2008

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