Capsule Art Reviews: January 29, 2015

"Drawings and Sculpture" Cryptic languages, hidden doors, secret passageways and escape hatches: Expect to find this and more in Stephen Daly's "Drawings and Sculpture" exhibit at Gremillion & Co. It is the modus operandi of this former professor of art (now professor emeritus, University of Texas) to challenge and lead viewers into drawing their own conclusions, leaving just enough clues to guide the way. Daly uses the letter format, with salutation, rows of communication and signature, in both 3/25/14 Letter and 3/8/12 Letter. It is a linguistic foil, not really saying anything but offering the possibility of communication. Calligraphic characters, pretend redactions and autonomous images are arranged in a collective way to create an atmosphere that allows the reader to enter the work. Understanding these two smaller works proves to be an excellent training ground for the larger Intervention, with small private and public spaces offering false barriers and ways to escape to the next zone through ladders, hidden doors and travel paths. Accessing the Ancient Sky features an earthbound silhouetted telescope capturing constellations in a large blue mass of deep outer space. The sky consists of beautifully arranged micro symbols of the finest pen strokes; it's interesting that the telescopic field of view can detect only some of this intergalactic matter. Center stage is granted to Mentoring, which, at 73"x36"x32", was actually the maquette for a 20-foot bronze sculpture installed in Spain. As the mentor (a small head on a shelf) whispers into the left ear of the protégé, learning occurs and cones, grids and firing synapses emerge from the brain in an explosion of information. Through February 15. 2501 Sunset Boulevard, 713-522-2701, gremillion.com. — ST

"Signal Chamber" Action painter Trey Egan channels personal emotion and the pain of creative frustrations, amplified by super-loud electronic music, to produce his "Signal Chamber" exhibit at McMurtrey Gallery. Worlds Apart; Days Turn Into Night is a dark, somber piece of blacks and blues that evokes the feeling of angry red warring entities. Blood has been spilt, and there is collateral damage as pieces break away amid the hopelessness of irreconciliation. More cheerful in tone, Clairvoyant; Under My Skin features the cool, minty green tones of springtime, light and bright with whites and sunlit yellow. Small pops of red and orange are newly awakened flowers, with the promise of abundant summer growth. Large color swatches (a favorite inspiration of Egan's) are evident in Hot Since 79', offering respite for the eyes. Resting on rotating billowy clouds, the piece actually radiates coolness, in spite of its hot brick and cherry reds. Glimpse growing self-awareness in the pre-existence of a corporeal form, as the mind fires pulses in tones of burnt umber and cherry reds and violets in Awaken Into Consciousness. The energy dances off the canvas, pulling away from the embryonic multidimensionality of protoplanetary dust. The nature-inspired Wanderers of the Whirl offers a tidal wave of flora and fauna swirling into the cyclonic birth of a forming planet. There is something here for all fans of abstract expressionism; on the cooler end are the ethereal pale pink forms of Ghost Transmission, the icy whites of a winter storm in All I Wanted Was to Stay and Dream and the dancing peaks and valleys of geometric prisms in Naturally Aspired, Traveling Within. Through February 14. 3508 Lake, 713-523-8238, mcmurtreygallery.com. — ST

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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney