Capsule Reviews

"Drawing Inside/Out" This sprawling drawing show is housed way up on Lawndale's third floor. Curated by Michelle White, Lawndale programming committee member and curatorial assistant at the Menil Collection, the show features an assortment of artists with varied approaches to drawing. Joey Fauerso presents a witty DVD, Four Ways to Disappear (2006), in which four drawings of a shirtless, big-gutted guy in jeans are slowly smeared out and erased. Next to it are Monica Vidal's wonderfully, obsessively rendered gouache drawings of imagined structures and landscapes. Across the room, David Ubias's Sea Anemone Sees an Enemy (2006) has a looser approach to the surreal. In a really funny gesture for a group show, he made himself a big red second-place ribbon and attached it to his drawing. Then there are Wesley Heiss's anal-retentive mechanical-pencil drawings on Mylar -- they exactly and absurdly detail the interior and exterior of conjoined aircraft. This show is a well-chosen grab bag that revives the come-one-come-all spirit of the old Lawndale. Through July 1 at Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main, 713-528-5858.

"Fellowship Series XI: Expositions" CACHH's fellowship series exhibitions continue to offer up interesting, bite-size selections of work from its grant recipients. This time the featured artists are Beth Secor, Angela Fraleigh and Darryl Lauster. Secor paints family portraits from old photographs; in an accompanying artist's statement, she relays snippets of crackpot family history that add an extra layer of intrigue to her dour turn-of-the-century faces (e.g., strychnine poisoning). Fraleigh contributed one of her large oil paintings that mix figures with smeared and poured areas of abstract color, but her lesser-known watercolors really upstage it -- their loose and fluid unpretentiousness makes the painting seem uptight. Rounding out the trio is Lauster, whose fascination with historical decorative objects and furniture inspires his sculptures. Here he riffs on 19th-century blue-and-white Transferware china. But instead of bucolic scenes, Lauster's collection of plates depicts events from American history -- the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, a Klan rally, suffragists, atomic blasts -- all ironically edged with charming decorative borders. Through August 3 at Space 125 of the Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County, 3201 Allen Parkway, 713-527-9330.

"The Real (Art)World" DiverseWorks went all reality-MTV for its artist residency program. Organized by visual arts director Diane Barber, the show features five artists who worked in the main gallery under the watch of a Webcam. You can even check out blogs by the artists on the DiverseWorks site. The Real World approach was definitely tongue-in-cheek, but the goal was to show something of how art is made and the decision-making processes of artists. The actual art they made is on view only this week, so check it out while you can. Katy Heinlein's sculptures turned out especially well -- they look like multi-legged tables turned upside down and draped with stretchy fashion fabrics. Like a dress, the fabric both obscures and reveals the shapes of the underlying structure; meanwhile, colored bands of other fabric are stretched tautly over the fabric-draped legs, like belts, creating a sense of tension. Eric Pearce has some interesting work as well, including a series of silk-screened "gold" records that present a quirky personal Top 40 (Dexy's Midnight Runners, anyone?). Kelly Pike aided the MTV-esque experiment by creating "confessional" videos of the five artists, and almost all the artists come across as much more interesting and much less self-absorbed that your standard Real World participant. And in case you've ever entertained any Real World fantasies, Pike also threw in a confessional video booth for exhibition visitors. Through July 1. 1117 East Fwy., 713-223-8346.

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Kelly Klaasmeyer
Contact: Kelly Klaasmeyer