Capsule Art Reviews: June 19, 2014

"Alongside" The Barbara Davis Gallery's exhibition of "Alongside," a group showing of nine artists, is international indeed, with some Houston contributors joined by artists from New York, Sweden and Denmark and one who was born in Israel and now resides in Providence, Rhode Island. Dominating the entrance is Snowcanoes by Denmark's Mie Olise, part representational, part abstract, deeply involving, powerful and rewarding. Quieter and simpler in composition is New Yorker Robert Kelly's Baltic Portal III. Its directness has its own charm; it is curiously soothing in its regularity and choice of pigments. Houston's Paul Fleming has a site-specific work, Borrowed Time, composed of hundreds of small button-like circles, rising from the floor to the ceiling in a graceful journey, as though a flock of birds had taken flight. It is detailed, and intriguing. Houston's Troy Stanley has a concrete collage, close to monochromatic, that moves at the top from lacelike filigree to a rougher texture at its bottom, where concrete has been added. It is highly original, and courageous. East Hampton's iconoclastic Matthew Satz, famed for his literal tar-and-feathers works, is showing Untitled, Smoke Painting (60x60"), whose complexity is in the fine detail, resulting in a stunning work-of-art. Sweden's Ditte Ejlerskov provides rich texture in a very original work, with two canvases interlaced and woven together, with the canvas below split into tassels. Titled The Baroque Tassel Painting, it marks Ejlerskov as a generous painter who gives her viewers a lot. Israel-born Yizhak Elyashiv provides ten panels of watercolors on paper, all part of one image that must be seen from as far away as possible, revealing a mountainous landscape, with echoes of Japanese work. It communicates a sense of a land isolated but strong and patient, awaiting its destiny. Through July 3. 4411 Montrose, 713-520-9200. — JJT

"Jim Seigler: My Life With the Circus" Jim Seigler began designing for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the early 1950s. He designed sets, floats and costumes, but there's much more — Seigler is also an accomplished ceramicist and a sensitive portrait artist. Hyde Park Gallery presents "Jim Seigler: My Life With the Circus," documenting Seigler's range of talents in its cavernous spaces. Seigler graduated from The Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida, which developed in him an affinity for vivid colors and dynamic figures. A notable exception is three charcoal portraits from 1949, which offer compelling glimpses of lives fully led and indicate a sympathetic bonding with humanity, in all its frailty. There are sketches of spectacular pageantry, revealing an intriguing grace that approaches elegance. Some works are solitary sketches for garments, but Seigler shapes them to life, showing the wearer as well as the garment. There are clowns and ringmasters galore, and girls riding elephants, and a Harem Girl sketch for a pageant that reminded me of Aubrey Beardsley's work. Elephants on Parade is elaborate in wit, with the elephant wearing a hat with nine large globes and the rider wearing a cape with a huge train. There are brightly colored ceramic sculptures, often of clowns with witty, exaggerated hats; these are delightful. Come see this most colorful and engaging exhibition. Through June 21. 115 Hyde Park, 713-524-6913, — JJT

Lorena Morales: The Space Within The intimate Galeria Regina has an unusual exhibition, The Space Within, consisting of the visual art of born artist Lorena Morales, with each work accompanied by a poem by 's own Gerald Cedillo. uses vivid colors on Plexiglas, often in geometric patterns, to create interest and tension. Her works here feature a series of works of stripes in varying colors, and also a series of works 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. Works 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", orange and blue circles on embossed paper, that stands out because of its open, uncluttered space. 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 grey 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. 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, Galeria , 1716 Richmond, open Saturdays and Sundays, 1 to 5, 713-523-2524, — JJT

"Steamrolled IV: Balance" Art gatherings take many forms, but few are as dramatic as the annual creation of oversize woodcut prints, done this year at Saint Arnold Brewing Company on April 27 as a two-ton steamroller did the final inking. Rockin' Rollin' Prints selects a theme — this year it's "Balance" — and 75 artists created woodprints on 3/4-inch MDF or wooden boards, from 2'x3' to 3'x5' in size, the size of the drum of the steamroller. Many of the prints are juried into the fourth annual exhibition, sponsored by PrintMatters. Some woodcuts are beautiful, such as Deceived by Tera Yoshimura, in which a naked Eve looks away from the apple as a huge serpent coiled around the tree tempts her; it is laced with tension. Perhaps the most complex is Marco Guerra's mysterious and haunting Balance, a night scene in an alley with a sign that reads "Don't be scared." A man on an old-fashioned bicycle is crossing a high wire, with no audience for the dangerous net-less daring. In another high-wire scene rich in humor, Ta-da!, by Mark Masterson and Monica Vidal, a man on a monocycle is cheered on by a woman who has lost her own balance on the wire. Black magic is treated with humor and wit by Yannini Taboada in This ain't nothing, as a male figure holds aloft in his left hand an infant while he stands on a page in a book of the occult. His left hand is grappling with a man, who in turn is fighting with the infant for some keys, while on the ground is a youth ignoring all this and calmly studying the book of sorcery. Through June 29. Gallery M Squared, PrintHouston 2014, 339 West 19th, 713-861-6070. — JJT

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