"Kate Petley/Janaki Lennie" Houston has a new house gallery. Rudolf Projects/ArtScan Gallery, formerly of Vine Street Studios, has reopened in a new Montrose location, the bottom floor of a 1930s brick fourplex on Richmond. This new domestically scaled space is a sharp contrast from their previous warehouse location. The inaugural show features Janaki Lennie and Kate Petley. Lennie creates moody paintings of Houston's polluted, twilight skies. Their colors have an unsettling beauty; fragments of sallow, leafy branches peek into the greenish firmament. The small works show well in the intimate environs of the former living room. Petley's resin works hang in a crisp, white-walled exhibition space that was the dining room. Her paintings are poured panels of lushly colored, translucent resin. While the colors are seductive, the works could be pushed further. Her "mobile" of organic resin shapes is going in a more interesting direction, but it still feels a little safe. Through November 5. 1836 Richmond, 713-256-6386.
"Mid-Century Modern Revisited: Design 1943-1953" An enigmatic, molded plywood object hangs on the wall at Brazos Projects for the space's new exhibition. The object is a leg splint, and it was designed by Charles and Ray Eames and marketed to the U.S. Navy during WWII as an alternative to metal splints. Through designing the splint, the Eameses developed a technique to mold plywood and mass-produce it. They would later use the process to design furniture such as the 1946 molded plywood screen, which features beautifully undulating segments of wood held together by unobtrusive fabric hinges. In the show, the screen serves as a backdrop for other spectacular objects, like Eero Saarinen's "Womb Chair," which still looks fantastically contemporary almost 60 years later. The chair is grouped with George Nelson's glowing, podlike "Bubble Lamp" and the warm wood of an early version of Isamu Noguchi's iconic coffee table. While "Mid-Century Modern" has become a widely used and misused appellation, this little jewel of a show brings the term back to its origins with choice and beautiful objects from the early years. Through November 28. 2425 Bissonnet, 713-523-0701.
"Thomas Vinson: Home-run" So the artist/punk/nihilist-all-black look is out for the moment, which is almost too bad when you consider all the bright white at Thomas Vinson's show at Gallery Sonja Roesch. A few black-clad chin-rubbers slouching about would complement it perfectly. The islands of primary blue, red and yellow in the mostly white paintings against the intense white walls startle and impress. Vinson, trained as a sculptor, uses the three-dimensionality of multiple surfaces and displays a sense of composition reminiscent of Mondrian. The relations of the shapes in each of these pieces demonstrate an understanding of color and form at its most fundamental. Through October 30. 2309 Caroline, 713-659-5424.
"William Betts: New Paintings" William Betts makes paintings from digital photographs. Now, that may sound like a pretty straightforward idea, but in Betts's hands, it's an intensely complicated process that involves "proprietary technology" of his own development -- he's designed a machine for paint application. You may remember Roxy Paine's CAMH show a couple of years ago, with its big industrial-looking equipment that blasted paint over canvases. The machines were part of the process and part of the piece. Well, Betts's machine is a sleek, sophisticated and precise behind-the-scenes operative. To create a painting, Betts shoots a photograph, then takes a strip from it that's the width of one pixel -- imagine a stack of different-colored dots. After that, he mixes paint the exact color of each of the dots and extends them into the impossibly slender, crisp parallel lines of color that make up the paintings. The elaborate process results in some amazing works, giving you slender slices of the real world in lines of vivid color. Through October 30 at Poissant Gallery, 5102 Center Street, 713-868-9337.