Capsule Art Reviews: "Dog Park," "Emily Sloan: Enlight," "Glass Graphica" "James Turrell: Holograms," "Lillian Warren: Wait With Me," "Michael Petry: Bad Restoration"

"Dog Park" G Gallery put out the open call earlier this summer for artists who use dogs as subject matter in their work. And the resulting show is indeed a winner. It has a range of mediums, from paintings to photography to sculpture, with submissions by some of the Houston art scene's heavy hitters. A real standout is Suzy Gonzalez's How Much Is That in the Window?, an oil painting depicting a normal family scene — mom, dad and little boy, who's pointing off excitedly at something out of view — except for the fact that they have dog heads instead of human. It's like a surreal Norman Rockwell painting. James Ruby's Smooch 2.0 is wonderfully all snout. Theresa Crawford's Fixated is a regal portrait of a contemplative shih tzu, while b.moodyart's The God Dog is a raw, emotive portrait of a bulldog, almost primitive in its acrylic sketches. There's an extreme lightness in Nola Parker's Charlie I, which depicts a dog mid-air, bounding carefree through the grass. In photography, there's a great suite of dogs at their quirkiest. Mary Magsamen and Stephan Hillerbrand turn to the family dog for their portrait of Cerebrus, who's lying almost luxuriously in a pile of white bread. Lee Deigaard's goofy The Dog Who Took the Place of a Mountain is a blurry portrait of a cross-eyed bloodhound named, perfectly, Buster, while Martha M. Thomas's Disdain depicts an extremely angry-looking poodle that is just raw emotion. Meanwhile, Ben Tecumseh DeSoto makes it political with Dog Realizes Death, a photograph of a frightened-looking puppy being led reluctantly by a person in rubber rain boots. The text accompanying the photo tells us that the dog is about to die by lethal injection. It's the most heartbreaking and serious submission in this diverse show. That it's placed next to a photograph of two dogs humping — that's the gift of the open call. Through September 30. 301 E. 11th St., 713-869-4770. — MD

"Emily Sloan: Enlight" During her summer residency at Darke Gallery, Houston artist Emily Sloan crafted metal sculptures inspired by mandalas — a Sanskrit word literally meaning "circle" that is a major element of Buddhist and Hindu religious art. They're often seen as concentric diagrams and used to aid in meditation, like those moving spirals hypnotists are known for. Sloan's mandalas aren't your typical drawing or diagram. They're 3-D, jutting out from walls or laid at angles on the floor. They look like wire outlines of lampshades, and in fact Sloan even inserts lampshades in the center of some of these sculptures. With her mandala inspiration, it can be assumed that Sloan wants to also put us in a trance. And the longer you look at the lines of her sculptures, the more you start to see shapes in them — I saw flowers one moment, musical instruments the next. As you move around the gallery, the individual mandalas also overlap each other, creating new lines and images. I've been told that the metal works look best when they're able to cast prominent shadows against the wall. When I saw them, the shadows were faint, but I could imagine that this interplay could be quite beautiful if seen at the right time. One of the best parts of the exhibition is a video Sloan created with artist Jonathan Jindra that makes the warmly lit mandalas come alive as the camera moves in and out of them. Distorted voices provide the soundtrack to this entrancing film. Through September 29. 320 B Detering St., 713-542-3802. — MD

"Glass Graphica" The two artists whose works appear side by side in this exhibition, Moshe Bursuker and Miguel Unson, have long been acquaintances. Bursuker taught at UrbanGlass, a community space in Brooklyn, New York, when Unson was a student. The two found that their love of glass was a common bond despite their varied approaches to technique. Bursuker's method combines photography and glass collaged together to create an abstract world, encased in ice. In some of his pieces, nonfigurative forms, almost appearing like globs of glass, hide another world. Inside the shapes, the reflections of buildings and windows can be perceived, although they may not be noticed upon first glance; it is a secret the artist has extended to us. Other works by Bursuker are more colorful yet contain the same twist on reality. Solid plates of melded glass are filled with colorful fractured patterns that at first appear random but come together to make a scenic picture. If the Impressionists had worked in glass, these pieces would fit nicely into their catalog. Meanwhile, Unson's pieces are primarily disc-shaped objects, black with colorful light seeping through. In his piece She Won't Look at You (Won't Look at You), Unson has found a way to weave using glass. The result is beautiful. White strands, almost vein-like, swim through black matter, making intricate patterns and shapes. The two artists complement each other nicely. Their work is wildly different yet holds the same basic foundation, and their passion for the material is ever apparent. Through October 14. Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main, 713-529-4848. — AK

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Meredith Deliso
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Abby Koenig
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