Capsule Art Reviews: "Blind Lines," Hot and Grounded

"Blind Lines" In the 19th century, locks of hair from the living and the dead were considered sentimental mementos. In the 21st century, collected strands of hair are more often than not associated with DNA analysis for a crime lab or paternity test. Mexican artist Gabriel de la Mora uses hair in his art, blending past and present associations with the material. His work is on view in "Blind Lines" at Sicardi Gallery. De la Mora has an extensive collection of hair gathered from friends, acquaintances and relatives. In his current exhibition at Sicardi, the work is abstract but intended as portraits of individuals. Each piece uses hair from a single person. For two works, the woman's gray hair has been carefully knotted into ethereal, cloud-like forms. One rests on a dark background, while another rests on a white background. The two are presented on a pedestal in acrylic boxes, like reliquaries. Armando Ignacio Silva Vicencio II (2008) presents enlarged hair drawings of the subject's fingerprints. His hair has been painstakingly glued to the paper, delineating the ridges and whorls of his prints, another individual marker of identity. De la Mora is creating inventive and provocative works from unlikely materials. And, FYI, this hair-obsessed artist is bald. Through January 10. 2246 Richmond, 713-529-1313. — KK

Hot and Grounded "Art" in bars usually runs to beer signs, posters or maybe lame paintings by friends of the owner. But Ariane Roesch's new installation Hot and Grounded at 13 Celsius, a hip wine bar in an old drycleaner's building on Caroline Street, is pretty amazing. Roesch created a luminous network that alludes to the kinds of connections people make in bars. From the street you can see glowing red and green wires angling across the ceiling of 13 Celsius. Inside the bar, they run down the walls and terminate into photographs silk-screened on frosted Plexiglas. In one corner, the lines disappear into an image of a control box operated by a man in a lab coat. Across the room, red lines end in bottles of German wine. The lines run into the courtyard; at the back of the bar, by the bathrooms, the radiant red wires connect to an image of an embracing couple, extending from the man's eyes to the woman's heart. Or is it her boobs? The combination of the network of lines and the talking and laughing crowd made the bar feel like a factory producing human interaction. Roesch's man in the corner seemed to be throwing the switch to turn things on, activating the wine and causing embracing couples and bar hookups. Rather than just art shown in a bar, Roesch's work seemed to energize the whole space, with the people and the art forming a complete circuit. Through February 14. 3000 Caroline, 713-529-8466. Closing reception: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, February 13. — KK

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Kelly Klaasmeyer
Contact: Kelly Klaasmeyer