Capsule Art Reviews: "Kiki Smith," "The New Black: Contemporary Concepts in Color and Abstraction," "Quantumdada Phase 2"

"Kiki Smith" Following up on their exhibition of Richard Serra etchings, Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery features another great print show. This time the work is by Kiki Smith. It's a series of color intaglio works based on the story "Little Red Riding Hood," a fairy tale that has a number of variants, pretty much all of them disturbing. Smith's slightly awkward, sketchy renderings of the little girl, the wolf and the grandmother are simultaneously engaging and ominous. Also on view, and serving as a backdrop to a hand-colored lithograph of a nude woman holding some Eve-like fig branches, is Smith's Weeping Willow Wallpaper. Created in a 2002 collaboration with the Fabric Workshop in Philadelphia, the paper is patterned with dangling branches and ethereal blue leaves set against an ecru background. It's pretty gorgeous, and it has the same moodily fanciful feeling as Smith's prints. (It's only $350 a roll, a bargain price for a Smith work, but only if you split it with 13 of your closest friends — sadly, the minimum order is 14 rolls.) Through November 4. 4520 Blossom, 713-863-7097. — KK

"The New Black: Contemporary Concepts in Color and Abstraction" "The New Black" is chock-full of just that — color and abstraction. Organized by Sally Sprout, the show features Michael Guidry's otherworldly, hard-edged, tape-intensive paintings. Filled with fractured, glacier-like forms, they evoke alien landscapes. Jonathan Leach is also a heavy tape user, employing it to create his boldly colored, highly geometric forms. Executed over multiple joined canvases and thick slabs of Plexiglas, Leach's bright, often Day-Glo paintings rival Peter Halley's for lurid intensity. Meanwhile, Myke Venable is joining his monochrome paintings together, turning the works themselves into compositions, and Katherine Veneman is offering up abstraction of a more lyrical nature with layers of swirls, lines and planes of color that reveal the hand — and brush — of the artist. Through November 26. Williams Tower Gallery, 2800 Post Oak Blvd., 713-939-1444. — KK

"Quantumdada Phase 2" This show is a decidedly eclectic assemblage of work that in one way or another relates to curator Volker Eisele's conceptions of quantum physics, Dada and quantum physics-meets-Dada. Trying to puzzle out how each work is supposed to relate to the show's theme is kinda headache-inducing, but taken on an individual basis, there are some interesting pieces in the show. Works by Greg Metz and David Graeve give you an idea of the show's range. Metz offers up Bush Cozy, a tragicomic Kleenex dispenser. It's a bronze head of George W. Bush with tissues coming out of the empty cranium and a plaque that reads "MY DEEPEST REGRETS TO THOSE WHO HAVE SACRIFICED THEIR LOVED ONES FOR MY IRAQ WAR." In the same room is Graeve's Lama Drubwang (Anti Matte) Max Planck 10-34 Planck Time. The piece is a giant orangey-red balloon, and I do mean giant; at eight feet in diameter, it takes up most of the gallery and represents an estimation of the size of the universe at the beginning of the Big Bang. Which suddenly makes the piece seem incredibly small and unimaginably dense. Through November 20. Rudolph Blume Fine Art/ArtScan Gallery, 1836 Richmond, 713-807-1836. — KK

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Kelly Klaasmeyer
Contact: Kelly Klaasmeyer