"The American Landscape" at Meredith Long & Company features the work of Larry Horowitz, but the paintings by William Anzalone capture the imagination as well, and a number of artists in this group show stand out with a single painting each. Michael Coleman's Sneaky Approach is a fascinating tableau in which a fox hides behind some shrubbery near a river stream while two birds (plovers?) wade upstream, creating a sense of the suspense before the pounce. The light on vegetation holds the eye, adding a calmness that is vividness itself. Al Barnes's Ghosting presents a two-masted sailboat towing a small barge while seagulls circle overhead. Trees and an interesting sky complete the maritime picture. William Anzalone's In and Out of Clouds dominates the gallery with its striking blue and orange sky; a small, distant barn; and wild grass in the foreground, ample but unobtrusive. The view is seen from a window, but, wait, is it? There is vegetation in front of the window, as well as past it, a wisp of surrealism. Anzalone foregoes subtlety in Fallen, where a huge tree has been toppled, filling the space, supplemented with purple vegetation under a pale-orange sky. The branches still threaten, reaching out like alien tentacles. Larry Horowitz has a painting that's almost a seascape, as a pale-purple sky is reflected in the water, balanced by humans on a small beach, green elsewhere, with a distant building and a small sailboat adding a spark of variety. The contrast between the dominant sky and the insignificant land is intriguing, and the effect of the openness of the center suggests endless possibilities. The work indicates the hand of a master painter. Through July 24. 2323 San Felipe, 713-523-6671, meredithlonggallery.com. — JJT
"Check Mate" Gil Bruvel's brilliant steel and ceramic chess sets — three of them, each different — dominate the center of the Laura Rathe Fine Art Gallery. They are witty, urbane and beautiful, with an airy, three-dimensional quality, each piece separate and movable. Bruvel's other works are even more powerful — sculptured heads made of stainless steel. Dichotomy presents the head and upper torso of a woman, formed of ribbons of steel, with open spaces between, creating a wind-blown, flowing effect, and making the steel seem fluid and alive. Each side of the face is different, suggesting both a cosmetic disadvantage and a capacity for duplicity. In Rain, the reflection of a man's head begins at the jawline, seemingly a mirror image, but I wondered if the expression in the hooded eyes below was really the same. This could be a Spartan defending a mountain pass. This is a group show, and includes Andreas Nottebohm, considered a master in metal painting. His work here, titled KN-2075, lets us see why. It's an elongated oval, oil painted on aluminum, primarily blue but with shifting elements of green as one moves past it. It suggests water, and has an otherworldly quality, as though it might be a futuristic control panel for a spaceship. It is wonderful. Gian Garofalo creates a series of vertical stripes of varying colors, but with so many stripes and so many colors that the work bursts with energy. Roi James also employs vertical stripes, and his art is colorful, with a soothing, serene quality, almost regal in its quiet authority. This is an exhibition replete with artistic pleasures. Through August 29. 2707 Colquitt, 713-527-7700, laurarathe.com. — JJT
"Lorena Morales: The Space Within" The intimate Galeria Regina has an unusual exhibition, "The Space Within," consisting of the visual art of Venezuela-born Lorena Morales, with each work accompanied by a poem by Houston's own Gerald Cedillo. Morales uses vivid colors on Plexiglas, often in geometric patterns, to create interest and tension. Featured here are a series of works with stripes in varying colors, and also a series that center on circles to capture the eye. The stripes are often interwoven, and the colors of the stripes can either contrast or segue into related tones. Pieces in the circles series are called "Chromospheres" — they tend to dominate the gallery space, as their vividness and concentric energy provide commanding power. There is a larger, attractive painting, Summer Sun, with orange and blue circles on embossed paper, that stands out because of its open, uncluttered space. Morales invited Cedillo to create poems inspired by her art. The result is interesting indeed, as Cedillo has a gift for expression and the capacity to view the world with original insights, poetically expressed with sincerity and quiet charm. Excerpted lines may illustrate this talent. For Summer Sun: "I was a cloudburst / full of grandfather clocks." Color Weave #2, mostly green and gray stripes: "Its longing stays / like salt on the tongue." For Color Weave #5, orange, red, magenta and purple stripes: "Don't stand on the world's chest." For the blue and green circled Chromospheres, he wrote: "...the fairy-tale land / of lost speech." Cedillo is from Rosenberg, and is an organizer for Houston's Word Around Town poetry tours. This is the fourth solo exhibition of Morales in the U.S., and last year she had an individual exhibition in Dresden, Germany. Through July 20. 1716 Richmond, 713-523-2524, www.galeriaregina.com. — JJT
"Scott Rosenberg: Snail Trail" Scott Rosenberg's exhibition is lighthearted, buoyant and whimsical. I especially liked a severely damaged ceramic birdbath with a black bird bending down to be kissed by a bluebird a fraction of its size. The sculpture suggests neglect, decay and abandonment, and yet romance survives. What looks like "found" material is Rosenberg's way of having fun with us, as he carefully constructs many objects to look found, though they're created by him. I was certain an old-fashioned two-vane ceiling fan was "found" art, but it is ceramic made to look like metal. The most perplexing "art" is what looks like a mended blue tarp. It's not fabric, but Rosenberg's painstaking sketching made it look like fabric. One work centered in the gallery has a Pomeranian dog on grass, and Rosenberg has sewn material to look like grass. There are glazed stones as well, many of them, and the overall effect has a miniature, pastoral quality, as though this scene might occur on the balcony of a high-rise. There are a number of bowls, deliberately cracked or chipped, that are colorful and have interesting added elements. There's an elaborate ceramic basket that captures the magic of fairy tales, bursting with finely detailed objects. Another work is a multi-tiered sculpture with a human head on the bottom, looking unhappy, compelled to support all the weight. There are glazed ceramic pears with horseshoe nails as stems, easily affordable. Rosenberg's art is untitled, since his freewheeling style is too libertarian to tell us what to think. He eschews conventional beauty, but seeks to illuminate the ordinary. This is his first solo show with Zoya Tommy Contemporary, and a most enjoyable one it is. Through August 9. Tommy Zoya Contemporary, Suite F, 4411 Montrose, 713-523-7424, zoyatommy.com. — JJT
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