Capsule Art Reviews: November 27, 2014

"Buildering: Misbehaving the City" "Buildering" describes overt acts of artistic expression with elements of rebellion against the establishment. It requires an unsanctioned, "in-your-face" attitude, and, more important, it's great fun. There are striking sculptures, exciting videos and photographs of some of the coups that mischievous practitioners have pulled off in the past. One such sculpture is El Barrio, consisting of a number of individual cardboard structures, like boxes, with openings for windows and doors, piled together. The effect is to reference a favela in Rio de Janeiro, or Habitat 67, the model community and housing complex created by Moshe Safdie for Montreal's Expo 1967. El Barrio was created by "Los Carpinteros," the name used by two Cuban artists who collaborate. Brasil, by Hector Zamora, shows an ordinary bicycle, but instead of a pedaler, the seat and indeed the entire bike are loaded with what seem to be terra-cotta bricks with see-through openings. The effect is of massive overload, suggesting industry and development occurring at the expense of the individual, and yet in itself providing an amusing and original sculpture that entertains through its unexpected uniqueness. I especially enjoyed two videos by Sebastian Stumpf in which he demonstrates possibly life-threatening activities. Underground Garage is a video of storefronts and garages, until a garage door starts to come down. At the last possible moment, with split-second timing, Stumpf sprints and throws himself underneath the closing garage door. The effect is exciting. Stumpf tops himself with Bridges, a video of him leaping off urban bridges into a river. This is dangerous and could be disastrous; I found it difficult to watch, though fascinating. Through December 6. Blaffer Art Museum, The University of Houston, 120 Fine Arts Building, 4173 Elgin, 713-743-9521, — JJT

"Carole A. Feuerman Solo Exhibition" Hyperrealist art is intended to simulate reality so precisely that the art can easily be mistaken for the real thing, and prime examples are on view at the intimate Octavia Art Gallery. Christina is a life-size sculpture, painted resin, of an attractive, fit woman in a discreet one-piece white bathing suit with orange and yellow designs, and a helmet-style bathing cap. She is turning her face to the sun, which is adroitly simulated by gallery lighting. She wears silver strap-on open shoes with high heels. A few hairs are escaping from the bathing cap. So vivid is the impersonation that a viewer might imagine he had seen her at a pool. Miniature Balance is not life-size, though so real is the illusion that the brain automatically enlarges it. It shows a full-breasted woman in the yoga lotus position, clad in a pale-blue two-piece bikini. Her eyes are closed, her fingers arched gracefully, and there is a realistic wrinkle in the rear of the bathing suit. Butterfly Capri seems life-size, though it portrays just the torso and head. There is a hint of humor — her right hand is lifting the bottom edge of her bathing suit, perhaps because it was binding, or perhaps as an enticement. She is wearing a reflective bathing cap and a one-piece bathing suit. Her eyes are closed, but the work is filled with energy. I loved Miniature Serena, in which a woman wearing a glistening bathing cap clings gently to an inflated rubber inner tube, her eyes closed. She has graceful hands and well-cared-for nails, and seems perfectly at rest, savoring a quiet moment in a vacation that is going well. Through December 5. 3637 West Alabama, Suite 120, 713-877-1810, — JJT

"Jorge Marin: Wings of the City" This installation at Discovery Green has nine wonderful sculptures by an acclaimed Mexican sculptor; some are powerful, some playful, some enigmatic, but all are filled with a love for and an appreciation of humanity that is breathtaking and admirable. Though they represent a higher order of being — most are winged — they have retained their humanity. Abrazo Monumental (abrazo is Spanish for "embrace") is a pietà-like sculpture of a winged angel holding a dying woman. El Tiempo shows a wounded soldier, his face intact but his head shattered and missing, and his arms severed as well, yet he remains watchful and alert, resolute, courageous, kept alive by his dedication and his need to protect the city. One sculpture is interactive: It's a pair of giant bronze wings with an opening for the visitor to stand in and be photographed wearing the wings. Titled Alas de Mexico, it is playful indeed, and early on a Saturday evening it was very active, with visitors waiting their turn. There are six winged sculptures, and three that are not winged. Split Monumental has a gymnast with a hawk mask, short hair, balancing on his hands on a globe. Equilibrista 90 Monumental shows a masked gymnast supporting himself with his hands on a globe, his legs stretched straight out, in an elegant line. Hombre Universal Monumental shows a man standing on a large open ring of metal, holding onto it at its top, with outstretched arms, an homage to and an echo of Leonardo da Vinci's sketch of the Vitruvian Man, probably the best-known drawing in the history of art. Through February 8. 1500 McKinney, La Branch at Lamar, 713-400-7336, discovery — JJT

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Randy Tibbits is an independent art writer and curator, specializing in the art history of Houston. He is a member of the Board of Directors of CASETA: Center for the Advancement and Study of Early Texas Art and the coordinator of HETAG: Houston Earlier Texas Art Group. He writes art exhibition reviews for Houston Press from time to time.